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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:29 am
Eight thousand dead across South-East Asia following an earthquake and subsequent tsunamis. The scale of this is almost beyond understanding. Check the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian and the SE Asian bloggers listed here by Instapundit for further news. Australia is quickly arranging aid; any donation points will be posted as soon as they are announced.
UPDATE. Jay Manifold has a list of aid organisations you can donate to. So does Indian blogger Chanakya, who links to reports of 3,500 Indian casualties.
UPDATE II. Command Post reports 3,000 dead in the Aceh region of Indonesia. Six Australians are missing; three Americans are reported dead.
UPDATE III. The death toll is now 12,300. Australia’s initial aid contribution is $10 million; Australian readers can contact Care Australia or call 1800 020 046 to donate.
UPDATE IV. The Age lists casualties by nation:
Sri Lanka: 3,500
UPDATE V. The Australian’s Kimina Lyall and a friend of Alan E. Brain’s supply personal stories. And here’s the Washington Post’s Michael Dobbs, in Sri Lanka:
As the water rushed out of the bay, I scrambled onto the main road. Screams were coming from the houses beyond the road, many of which were still half full of water that had trapped the inhabitants inside. Villagers were walking, stunned, along the road, unable to comprehend what had taken place.
I was worried about my wife, who was on the beach when I went for my swim. I eventually found her walking along the road, dazed but happy to be alive. She had been trying to wade back to our island when the water carried her across the road and into someone’s back yard. At one point she was underwater, struggling for breath. She finally grabbed onto a rope and climbed into a tree, escaping the waters that raged beneath her.
UPDATE VI. Survivor Kevin Aldrich tells the BBC from Thailand:
I woke up to what I thought was banging on our hotel door – it blew open and we were tossed from our bed by the surge of tide into the room. It broke out the back windows and we were carried out. We scrambled on to walls and rooftops but within minutes the tide surged higher and 15 to 20 feet was not high enough. The buildings around me collapsed and I was thrown into the surge. When I came up there was a branch I grabbed on and held. Surviving the receding tides was hardest. Pinned against a tree by the water, debris and bodies started to pile up against me and it felt like I was being crushed. In the end, the whole resort was gone.
UPDATE VII. The earthquake that caused these tsunamis has been upgraded to magnitude 9.0: “This is now the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake.”
UPDATE VIII. The death toll in India alone has now reached 4,000. Up to four are believed dead in Kenya.
UPDATE IX. Sydney Morning Herald readers have their say:
A pity our army is busy fighting America’s immoral war when they should be providing assistance to the affected areas. – Shane Arnold
These divine winds show that the Gods are displeased with the world’s state of affairs. – Tomoyuki Yamashita
An opportunity for western governments to divert some funds to aid assistance projects rather than their billion dollar war obsessions. – Mother Nature strikes
This latest tragic disaster should open all our eyes to the fact that the world seems to already have its “hands full” coping with seemingly ongoing natural disasters rather than creating such man made disasters as we have contributed to in Iraq. – wayne gregory
Dont expect a genuinely compassionate response from the U.S. Government, as a “war on earthquakes” will not be as profitable as good ol’ terrorism – Nick Loveday
UPDATE X. A useful graphic of the region.
UPDATE XI. CBC News is now reporting 14,000 dead.
UPDATE XII. Compare the ABC website to the BBC website. Note which regards the death of thousands in SE Asia as bigger news, despite being on the other side of the planet. (UPDATE. My mistake; that comparison is completely unfair, since it pits the ABC homepage against the BBC news page. For the record, here is the BBC homepage, and here is the ABC news page. Via Tubagooba.)
UPDATE XIII. About 5,500 Australians were in the disaster zones; five are feared dead. The total is now at 14,400.
UPDATE XIV. Michele Catalano reports that US newscasts gave equal time to the Michael Jackson trial:
Is it because the dead aren’t Americans? Or is it because the networks think no one will care? Or do they just really believe that we are all more interested in who was hot or not in 2004 than 11,000 fellow humans dying in one day?
More from Michele at Command Post. Australian networks have performed brilliantly; we’re 14 minutes into Nine’s evening news, and it’s all tsunami.
UPDATE XV. From Sri Lankan blog Extra Extra:
The sheer brute violence of that single wave is staggering. Every house and fishing boat has been smashed, the entire length of the east coast. People who know and respect the sea well now talk of it in shock, dismay and fear. Some work to do this week.
Another Sri Lankan blog, Ceneus:
It’s always the case of humans destructing nature. But when nature has its turn, it sure ain’t gonna think twice.
(Via The Moderate Voice and Instapundit, where you’ll find many other related links.)Posted by Tim B. on 12/27/2004 at 06:25 AM
- Surely , a warning should have been issued immediately and thousands of lives saved.
even if the tsunami waves travelled at several hundred kilometers and hour , there would have been 6 hours or more of leeway for evacuation to higher ground.
this is not only a disaster but an international SCANDAL.
God willing they will learn from these terrible mistakes.
- Some earthquakes produce tsunamis and some don’t. The warning was issued that there had been an earthquake. But governments move slowly. And would anyone have listened, anyway?
The US is on a warning system for tidal waves but I strongly suspect that if that earthquake had happened mid-Atlantic and hit Florida’s tourist area shores, the devestation would have been equivalent. Would we have evacuated our beaches on a chance of something no one living has seen happen? Maybe we would. But I doubt it.
- Florida would be doomed. I should know; I live here. We don’t have any mountains to flee to.Posted by Andrea Harris on 12/27 at 01:29 PM • #
- Yes cathy you may be right about the beaches.
Seems the tsunamis hit Patong beach about three hours after Banda Aceh.
It was ten AM and most of the european holiday makers would have finished breakfast and headed for the beaches.
I know what my daughter’s reaction would have been if i had asked her to head for the hills because big waves were coming!
although tsunamis travel underwater and are i am told not detectable from the surface. (by the time they rise over the continental shelves it’s too late to run), it is reasonable to suspect that such a huge undersea earthquake measuring 9.0 on the richter scale would have created such waves.
So even if there is no monitoring in the Indian ocean sead bed, precautional warnings should have been immediately issued.
- Fine. Buy me a car.Posted by Andrea Harris on 12/27 at 01:56 PM • #
- In such event, steal a car Andrea, or get some knight in shining armour to steal one for you!Posted by Steve at the pub on 12/27 at 02:42 PM • #
- Davo, I live in the United States, in Florida in fact. I don’t know where you got the idea that I lived in Australia, much less in Brisbane. I also don’t own a bicycle. But I do take donations. I’d prefer a car, though—I’ll settle for one of these babies. I’m not fussy.Posted by Andrea Harris on 12/27 at 02:51 PM • #
- No, the evil bush did not do it, yoyimbo, and the geosciences are struggling to get enough funding from government, but the greens with their scare story of global warming and climate change are are having governments spending billions per year on studies on a physical fallacy – that burning coal and oil increases CO2 which increases the earth’s temperature in 50 years time.
I suppose the ones really responsible are the Greens who have managed to have governments misallocate funds to scare campaigns, rather than politically boring scientific discipline of geology, which, of course, is intimately associated with the mining industry, another Greeny Hate.
May I suggest you all get a copy of Crichton’s latest book, and read it from cover to cover? The US has the necessary listening and wave monitoring devices in the Pacific to alert it to tsunamis generated in the Pacific.
But no one has, let alone the UN, thought of researching into this apart from a token amount.
Funding would have allowed sensors to be placed in hthe Indian ocean to monitor any tsunami wave generation.
No, we should spend less on climate research and more on earthquake and tsunami studies.
- davo: It also appears that that meteor is likely to strike somewhere in the general vicinity of the middle east.
Maybe the Gods *are* displeased, but not, apparently, with us. Why was evil Bush lapdog Australia spared?Posted by Aaron – Free Will on 12/27 at 04:21 PM • #
- I received this today from a workmate who is currently in Phuket:
“Just in case you have tried to phone my phone, it has been washed away,
it won’t be replaced until I get back to HK, so please can everyone
their no.’s again…thanks.
Well no doubt you have heard in the news about the tidal waves in
well everywhere in SE ASia actually. Just to let you know that we are
ok, but our flat in Phuket in ruined. At about 8am this morning, we all
to earthquake shudders but being lazyheads, we went back to bed and
10am, the first tidal wave hit our beach. Floods of water swamped our
and we all had to leg it up to the roof to safety which was pretty
Anyway, once the waters had drained away, we tried to salvage what we
and got our passports and wallets etc. and then we saw lots of people
running away from the beach, so we quickly went back upstairs to safety
avoid the second tidal wave which destroyed everything that wasn’t
ruined. Anyway to cut a long story short, we are now playing refugees
Phuket town as we jumped on the back on someones jeep to avoid the
tidal wave. We’ve just been told there is another tidal wave coming
now, so I’d better go abck to the hotel to safety.
Anyway, I will email again later.
Have a good xmas and new years and I’m sure you are a lot drier than us
Take care, Lots of love”
- Louis: That’s a very interesting theory, and not entirely unlikely.
The Earth isn’t our mother, frankly, it’s more like the abusive stepfather.Posted by Aaron – Free Will on 12/27 at 04:50 PM • #
- Global Warming and large earthquakes are nothing compared to a 1 in 42 chance of a giant asteroid crashing down from space and annihilating all life on earth. heh. Divert all global warming money to space research!Posted by drscroogemcduck on 12/27 at 04:56 PM • #
- dr scrooge: Good news is that asteroid will not annihalate all life on Earth: Just anyone unfortunate enough to be anywhere near the impact or under the airburst, who would die quite horribly. Think “Soddom and Gomorrah”.Posted by Aaron – Free Will on 12/27 at 04:58 PM • #
- Louis – don’t be a berk. Meteor strikes don’t make fucking Sumatra move 100 feet. Or cause a slip along 1000 km of faultline. Dickhead.
And as for that idiot who said the US Army would have been better employed in Indonesia than Iraq – what the fuck does he think the 4th ID is – the paramilitary wing of the Red Cross? Anyone who makes cheap anti-American comments at a time like this needs to be beaten to death. God save us from millenarian wankers like those ‘compassionate’ idiots in the SMH.Posted by David Gillies on 12/27 at 05:00 PM • #
- <blockquote>Louis – don’t be a berk. Meteor strikes don’t make fucking Sumatra move 100 feet. Or cause a slip along 1000 km of faultline. Dickhead.</blockquote>A meteor of sufficient size can, in and of itself, cause massive earthquakes that could easily be anywhere from 6-16 on the Richter scale. That could set the plate loose to release whatever other energy is stored up inside. It’s not likely that that’s the actual chain of events, but it’s worth considering in the “post mortem” here, as catastrophic meteor hits are apparently far more common than we once thought, and now we have the knowledge to be able to think about it in a meaningful way.
However, yes, hell with these “send the troops to Sumatra!” people. (Unless we’re finally going to wage our war on the environment… Yeehaa!)Posted by Aaron – Free Will on 12/27 at 05:14 PM • #
- Aaron: That could set the plate loose to release whatever other energy is stored up inside
Didn’t happen following Siberia (1908) and that was one huge explosion.Posted by walterplinge on 12/27 at 05:39 PM • #
- The Siberian explosion was away from a “plate” boundary – Sumatra is very much ON a plate boundary. The tension might have building up for a long time, and, might have resulted smaller earthquakes, over a longer period of time.
In this case perhaps an impact was enough to trigger a more instantaneous stress relief.
We will have to wait to see what exploration of the sea bed reveals in due time. That is if we can get the funds to do it, of course. All science budgets are sort of committed to climate change at the moment.
- Didn’t happen following Siberia (1908) and that was one huge explosion.
It sure was. Fortunately, it was also an airburst, which meant most of the force was expended in the form of thermal radiation and air pressure, hence why the earthquake was perhaps only a 5.0.Posted by Aaron – Free Will on 12/27 at 05:48 PM • #
- The idea this was a meteorite doesn’t pass the laugh test. Where’s the debris? Where’s the reports of the fireball? The earthquake was recorded at 7 am local time, so any object big enough to cause this wouldn’t have been coming out of the Sun and would have been spotted by now. Idiotic psuedo-scientific nonsense isn’t very helpful right now. Take a look here, and stop being silly.Posted by David Gillies on 12/27 at 06:00 PM • #
Shows meteorites on Dec 8, Dec 19 this year.
David, a meteorite hitting the sea leaves no debris.
And I posed it as an hypothesis not fact, but I see you have already made up your mind.
The USGS data contains no eyewitness reports, and places the impact below the visible horizon from any one in Sumatra. Everyone’s attentioned would not have been peering to the south, but perhaps to the east.
All the data shows is violent physical release of energy at the point shown by the USGS.
From a seismological perspective, an impact is instrumentally indistinguishable from an “earthquake”.
As a geologist with up to 30 years professional experience, I might actually know a little about this.
was Banda Aceh on a known tectonic fault line?
If there was a meteorite hit , it would surely have been picked up by monitoring satelites and telescopes.
The Siberian meteorite was only ten metres accross (i seem to remember). This would have had to have been far more massive.
Also would there not have been huge amounts of water sent up into the upper atmosphere ? this also would have been detected?
‘Maybe the Gods *are* displeased, but not, apparently, with us. Why was evil Bush lapdog Australia spared?’
Because we have been good dhimmies and welcomed Tariq Ramadan, master of taqiya, to Victoria and banned the quoting of koranic verses by infidels in public.
oh and i forgot to mention exhibiting photos of martyred Hammas leaders in the streets of Melbourne.
- I think that the earthquakes and tsunamis conclusively prove global warming. Warm seas are lighter than cold seas, so there is less pressure on the earth’s crust under the ocean. Less pressure means that greater earth movement may occur.
It is essential to ban any sort of carbon dioxide propagation in industrialised countries, as soon as possible.
- The Australian reports that, Governments from France to Australia and Russia to the US pledged aid and assistance, despatched aircraft, doctors and specialists to the worst-hit areas.
Conspicuously absent from the list: Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, &c. No a lot of compassion there, even for their fellow travellers in Malaysia. It’s only the Great Satans who are willing to help out – as usual.Posted by walterplinge on 12/27 at 06:35 PM • #
- Here’s the link to the USGS report on the quake:
Briefly, it puts the event on known tectonic plates and fault lines. A meteorite impact probably would have atmospheric shockwaves as well—a “big boom” from passage as well as the impact. Preliminary data puts this down as a quake.
davo is right as well—there would be considerable cloud cover generated by the impact against water. I doubt there was a meteorite.
On a warning system….there is an extensive system in place in the Pacific Ocean, within the “Ring of Fire”, check out http://wcatwc.gov/; I believe that the Australian government is involved with it as well, on the east coast of Oz. I couldn’t find an equivalent system for the Indian Ocean. But the Pacific system has been around for years, and it ain’t cheap.
Also, note that the epicenter of the major shock was 255 KM from Banda Aceh—tsunamis can travel very fast, although I have no idea about this one. But a major wave can cross the Pacific in a single day.
Let’s not read too much into this, there’s enough tragedy and sniping going on as it is.Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 12/27 at 06:37 PM • #
- What time of the year is it peoples ? Everyone is on holiday, or most, and the event was a total surprise.
Meteors are not spotted by satellites – (no budget for a start). Monitoring telescopes? This is the whole problem – that part of the planet cannot afford these things, let alone people for earthquake monitoring.
That is why the death toll is as high as it is.
When NASA went to the moon, and put seismographs on it, they measured “small earthquakes”.
Seismographs measure sound waves and can pin point where that soundwave originated. It cannot tell you what the source of that soundwave was.
The whole Indonesian Island system is on a “plate fault line”.
- It shows that people are at the dominance of mother nature’s will. Although being at a range of 1000 km from the epicenter Miraculously Bangladesh escaped from a big tragedy with only a few confirmed deaths. The after shocks of the quake (measured in coastal area at 7.36 scale) could be disastrous if it would hit any mega city like Dhaka where almost 10 million people live.
- Louis, satellites can monitor the impact of meteors and metorites…..since they have some of the same features as a nuclear blast. This has been known for a long time. Check out:
http://www.gyre.org/news/related/Asteroid Defense/Asteroid Tracking/10/chrono
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/29/science/29ROCK.html?ex=1104296400&en=2fc2ce218e3889f6&ei=5070&oref=login (registration required)
Go for the simpler solution until more data comes up. An earthquake is the more likely cause of this.Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 12/27 at 07:52 PM • #
- Louis – the Argumentum ad Verecundiam (Argument from Authority) is a logical fallacy. Might just as well say I’m a physicist of fifteen years’ standing (which is true). It’s irrelevant.
As for your contention that a meteorite is instrumentally indistinguishable from an earthquake – back to school, mate. The ratio of P to S waves is totally different, as is their Fourier spectrum. The time constant over which earthquakes typically evolve is different. It’s moot anyway. An object capable of registering a magnitude 9.0 Richter event while simultaneously evading detection until (and after) impact would by necessity have been a carbonaceous chondrite or stony-iron body (perhaps a nickel-iron body) in the >500m class. Given that it could not have come out of the Sun and deposited sufficient impact energy in the target area to produce the effects we have seen, I call bullshit on the meteor theory. I tell you what: I’ve got $1000 (US) says you’re talking nonsense. This was an earthquake, a horribly tragic one, not a meteor. If ejecta start falling over the region I might be in trouble. Until then, I doubt it.Posted by David Gillies on 12/27 at 08:01 PM • #
- OK David
I am not a physicist so help us out here please.
WHAT determines the frequency and amplitude of an underwater TSunami?
And how come it travels at airline jet speeds?
Surely the rise in the tectonic plate would have ot be awesomely fast to produce such high velocities?
Q2 would the waves be equal in force around the 360 circle. A meteorite unless it struck at ninety degrees should generate asymetric waves, no?
this would mean areas to the south would receive tsunamis of differebt power then those to the north?
- The SMH correspondents have that field to themselves, as most sensible people would not bother to write to the rag.
America’s immoral war? Oh yeah, as opposed to Saddam’s really altruistic ones where he just tried to corner the whole of the oil supplies in his neighbourhood. Not about oil? I suppose this correspondent goes to work every day for free, too.
Divine Winds. The Gods Must Be … was it Angry or Crazy? A committee like that would have trouble agreeing about anything, let alone whether the state of Earth’s politics was to their liking. Are these Communist Gods who are really pissed off with the way our world has trashed communism? Or are they Free Enterprise & Democracy Gods who are impatient with the pace of reform? Perhaps they are Civil Liberties Gods who have temper tantrums over just about anything except the things that are most likely to destroy freedom.
And as to the More Aid Brigade – Western Democracies already send huge amounts of money in aid to countries which are governed by all sorts of dysfunctional regimes, and they get little thanks for it from the recipients or from SMH correspondents. They will continue to do so, because it is the right thing to do.
War On Earthquakes? Give us a game plan, butthead. Profit From War? You’re standing in it. The world has benefitted greatly from the very messy but necessary actions to wage and win WW2, and would have benefitted from the Korean and Vietnam wars too if they had not been undermined by PC wrong thinking, which led to no clear resolution. Vietnam was at last tamed by the collapse of the Soviet and Chinese commitment to … well, communism. Korea remains unfinished business, and this should weigh equally on the consciences of China, who used it as a buffer, and those on the UN side, who negotiated the stalemate.
I have to deal with geophysicists and their modelling everyday of my life in mineral exploration. For me and the companies I work for, it is $ and Cents. We know geophysical bullshit when we come across it.
Your technical sophisticaltion, while impressive, says nothing.
My reference to the NASA data from the moon was to suggest that the seismographs were registering data – from a quaking moon – from internal stresses, or external stresses.
But your initial remarks suggest to me that you are extremely certain of your views. From experience, I learnt that such a position is scientifically problematical.
So stop the ad hominems and contribute to the debate please.
- For those interested http://www.ctr4process.org/news/CPSNews.htm#plasma
Links to 2 pdf’s (large) from recent NASA conferences.
David’s comments are premised on a strictly Newtonian universal concept.
Mine on a more recent one. Hence my tentative suggestion for a possible meteoritic cause for the last tsunami event, rather than a strictly earthly one.
Simply because some of the observations don’t fit the theory.
- “Simply because some of the observations don’t fit the theory.”
I’m just a hairy engineer that dabbles in disaster contingency planning, with only basic physics, and a modicum knowledge of astrophysics. Plus some wide reading and asking questions. I’m hardly an expert. But what Dave says matches what I’ve learned about earthquakes.
Still, I’ll match Dave’s $1000US bet on this. Because your “logic” has the smell of someone not wanting to admit they may be wrong.
Please note—this is only a bet. I honestly don’t know if I’m right. But I figure the odds are in my favor, and I can always use the money.Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 12/27 at 10:00 PM • #
Said money won will go to disaster relief from the tsunami. Sorry, I wasn’t thinking, and I don’t care to profit from someone else’s misery.Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 12/27 at 10:02 PM • #
- “David’s comments are premised on a strictly Newtonian universal concept.”
Uh oh, this sounds like some kind of “new physics” from Louis.
Personally, I go with Scotty’s Law, that ye cannae change the laws of physics, and Ockham’s Razor, that the simplest explanation for an event is most likely ther correct explanation.
- “These divine winds show that the Gods are displeased with the world’s state of affairs.” – Tomoyuki Yamashita
Let me guess. The God’s disapprove of US military intervention in Iraq and their failure to ratify the Kyoto protocol?
However, if the Gods can find no way of showing their displeasure other than human slaughter, I don’t really care what they think
- Liberal idiocy regarding this tragic event has not combined to your hemisphere.
The nuts at DU have so far managed to find fault with Bush, the adminstration in general, and Christians as a group regarding this tragedy.
The list of aid organizations at The Command Post have also been copied to A Small Victory. Check there if the server load gets too heavy to access TCP.Posted by Confederate Yankee on 12/28 at 02:27 AM • #
- I know a bit about airborne logistics for disaster relief. I’ve studied it in my professional capacity. I know what can and can’t be done, and how long it all takes.
I have an answer to Shane Arnold.
Short Version : P-f-f-f-f-t
Long Version over at my blog.
Ther’s a roundup of what’s happening worldwide in disaster relief efforts over at The Command Post.
- While the British are whining, wringing their hands, beating their chests and being very snarky to the US. We immediately began to do something!
http://www.powerlineblog.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/9099Posted by Linda in Whittier, CA on 12/28 at 03:45 AM • #
- Linda, that’s a trackback code, not a linking code.Posted by Andrea Harris on 12/28 at 12:00 PM • #
- “These divine winds show that the Gods are displeased with the world’s state of affairs. – Tomoyuki Yamashita”
Uh, can anyone tell me how to say “divine wind” in Japanese?Posted by Alan K. Henderson on 12/28 at 04:25 PM • #
Sorry I am new at this, this is the permalink:
I tried it and it worked.Posted by Linda in Whittier, CA on 12/29 at 06:09 AM • #