Skip to comments.Asian Tsunamis Surge Against East African Coast
Posted on 12/26/2004 9:53:01 AM PST by sully777
NAIROBI, Kenya (Reuters) - Powerful tsunamis that roared across southern Asia into the Indian Ocean Sunday smashed fishing boats and flooded low-lying areas along the east African coast, 3,728 miles to the west.
At least one person was killed and others feared missing on Kenya's coast, where thousands of tourists are visiting for the Christmas holidays.
The surge of water also destroyed dozens of boats and forced authorities to close the beaches, police said.
The biggest earthquake in 40 years hit southern Asia and triggered a massive wall of water that raced across the Indian Ocean, bringing devastation and death to Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia. Nearly 8,000 were believed killed.
In countries stretching from the Horn of Africa, down to Tanzania and out into the Indian Ocean, lowland flooding and irregularly fast tidal changes were reported. Tourists and residents were told to stay away from the beaches.
In the Kenyan resort town of Malindi, at least one swimmer died and three others were believed drowned, District Commissioner Mobeya Mogaka said. It was not immediately clear whether the swimmer was Kenyan or a foreign visitor.
Dozens of fishing boats were smashed when the tidal surge struck Malindi, Mogaka said.
Earlier, resorts closed their beaches because of the unusual tidal movements.
"We have had four high tides and four low tides in the last six hours," a spokesman for the Turtle Bay resort in Malindi told Reuters.
FISH ON RUNWAY
On the semi-autonomous Tanzanian island archipelago of Zanzibar, guests at two beach hotels were moved to hotels further inland, officials said. Asian Quake, Tsunami Death Toll Approaches 9,500
Two U.S. Airlines' Woes Ground More Holiday Flights
USGS: Warnings Could Have Saved Thousands in Asia
In the Seychelles, at least nine people were reported missing after a 2-meter (6-foot) surge flooded low roads and knocked out power in hundreds of homes. At the airport, fire brigades were forced to wash dozens of fish off of the runway each time high tides sent water crashing onto the airfield.
The government declared Monday a public holiday to allow for a cleanup.
In Somalia, strong waves and winds capsized boats and kept fishermen in port.
"I do not know what to expect from the ocean," said a Somali fisherman in the coastal town of Adale, 35 miles north of Mogadishu.
Mauritius seemed largely untouched by the post-quake surge, although minor flooding struck one of the outlying islands in the archipelago, Rodrigues. On Madagascar and the Comoros Islands, residents had seen no ill effects.
BBC Sea surges reach E African coast [Brits warned of tsunami]
The sea surges produced by the earthquake off Indonesia have reached east Africa and islands off its coast.
Waves hit the Somali coast, drowning at least three people and capsizing fishing boats.
The islands of the Seychelles are reported to have been flooded, including areas of the capital, Mahe.
Popular Kenyan beaches around Mombasa have been closed, while the islands of Mauritius and Reunion have urged people to stay away from the beaches.
East Africa is more than 6,000 km (3,728 miles) from the quake's epicentre.
Despite this, the British government has warned its citizens in Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Kenya and Tanzania to be alert for potential danger from the sea surges...[Snip] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4126513.stm
Any word yet about Diego Garcia?
No doubt it'll be surfs up in South Africa.
I was wondering the same thing.
If it made it to Africa then DG got hit.
I understand that the max elevation there is 22 ft above sea level.
AP now reporting 8000 dead
This is a separate article at Reuters and in no way blames the U.S. for not warning Asia, which is [duh] how I took it. ;)
prayers said for all
Flush Bin Laden out of that cave!
A view of the damage caused by a tsunami at a beach in Phuket, about 535 miles south of Bangkok, Dec. 26, 2004. The wave was triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean and it tossed cars around like toys on Thailand's southern tourist playground on Sunday and swept into luxury hotels on Phuket Island, killing at least 120 people in the region, officials said. (Reuters)
By LELY T. DJUHARI, Associated Press Writer
JAKARTA, Indonesia - The world's most powerful earthquake in 40 years struck deep under the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Sumatra on Sunday, triggering tidal waves up to 20 feet high that obliterated villages and seaside resorts in six countries across southern and southeast Asia. About 8,000 people were killed in the devastation.
Tourists, fishermen, homes and cars were swept away by walls of water that rolled across the Bay of Bengal, unleashed by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake. The tsunami waves barreled nearly 3,000 miles across the ocean to Africa, where at least nine people were killed in Somalia.
In Sri Lanka, 1,000 miles west of the epicenter, more than 3,000 people were killed, the country's top police official said. At least 2,200 died in Indonesia, and more than 2,300 along the southern coasts of India. At least 289 were confirmed dead in Thailand, 42 in Malaysia and 2 in Bangladesh.
But officials expected the death toll to continue to rise, with hundreds reported missing and all communications cut off to towns in the Indonesian island of Sumatra that were closest to the epicenter. Hundreds of bodies were found on various beaches along India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, and more were expected to be washed in by the sea, officials said.
The rush of tsunami waves brought sudden disaster to people carrying out their daily activities on the ocean's edge: Sunbathers on the beaches of the Thai resort of Phuket were washed away; a group of 32 Indians including 15 children were killed while taking a ritual Hindu bath to mark the full moon day; fishing boats, with their owners clinging to their sides, were picked up by the waves and tossed away.
"All the planet is vibrating" from the quake, said Enzo Boschi, the head of Italy's National Geophysics Institute. Speaking on SKY TG24 TV, Boschi said the quake even disturbed the Earth's rotation.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at a magnitude of 8.9. Geophysicist Julie Martinez said it was the world's fifth-largest since 1900 and the largest since a 9.2 temblor hit Prince William Sound Alaska in 1964.
The epicenter was located 155 miles south-southeast of Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province on Sumatra, and six miles under the seabed of the Indian Ocean. There were at least a half-dozen powerful aftershocks, ranging in magnitude from almost 6 and 7.3.
On Sumatra, the quake destroyed dozens of buildings but as elsewhere, it was the wall of water that followed that caused the most deaths and devastation.
Tidal waves leveled towns in Aceh province on Sumatra's northern tip. An Associated Press reporter saw bodies wedged in trees as the waters receded. More bodies littered the beaches.
Health ministry official Els Mangundap said 1,876 people had died across the region, including some 1,400 in the Aceh provincial capital, Banda Aceh. Communications to the town had been cut.
Relatives went through lines of bodies wrapped in blankets and sheets, searching for dead loved ones. Aceh province has long been the center of a violent insurgency against the government.
The worst known death toll so far was in Sri Lanka, where a million people were displaced from wrecked villages. Some 20,000 soldiers were deployed in relief and rescue and to help police maintain law and order. Police chief, Chandra Fernando said at least 3,000 people were dead in areas under government control.
An AP photographer saw two dozen bodies along a four-mile stretch of beach, some of children entangled in the wire mesh used to barricade seaside homes. Other bodies were brought up from the beach, wrapped in sarongs and laid on the road, while rows of men and women lined the roads asking if anyone had seen their relatives.
"It is a huge tragedy," said Lalith Weerathunga, secretary to the Sri Lankan prime minister. "The death toll is going up all the time." He said the government did not know what was happening in areas of the northeast controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels.
The pro-rebel www.nitharsanam.com Web site reported about 1,500 bodies were brought from various parts of Sri Lanka's northeast to a hospital in Mullaithivu district, 170 miles northeast of the capital, Colombo.
About 170 children at an orphanage were feared dead after tidal waves pounded it in Mullaithivu, the Web site said.
No independent confirmation of the report was available, but TamilNet another pro-rebel Web site said some guerrilla territory was badly hit. "Many parts ... are still inaccessible and it was difficult to provide damage estimates or death tolls there," it said.
In India, beaches were turned into virtual open-air mortuaries, with bodies of people caught in the tidal wave being washed ashore.
"I was shocked to see innumerable fishing boats flying on the shoulder of the waves, going back and forth into the sea, as if made of paper," said P. Ramanamurthy, 40, who lives in Kakinada, a town in Andra Pradesh state.
The huge waves struck around breakfast time on the beaches of Thailand's beach resorts probably Asia's most popular holiday destination at this time of year, particularly for Europeans fleeing the winter cold wiping out bungalows, boats and cars, sweeping away sunbathers and snorkelers, witnesses said.
"Initially we just heard a bang, a really loud bang," Gerrard Donnelly of Britain, a guest at Phuket island's Holiday Inn, told Britain's Sky News. "We initially thought it was a terrorist attack, then the wave came and we just kept running upstairs to get on as high ground as we could."
"People that were snorkeling were dragged along the coral and washed up on the beach, and people that were sunbathing got washed into the sea," said Simon Clark, 29, a photographer from London vacationing on Ngai island.
On Phuket, Somboon Wangnaitham, deputy director of the Wachira Hospital, said one of the worst hit areas was the populous Patong beach, where at least 32 people died and 500 were injured.
Another survivor on Phuket was Natalia Moyano, 22, of Sydney, Australia, who was being treated for torn ligaments.
"The water kept rising. It was very slow at first, then all of a sudden, it went right up," Moyano said. "At first I didn't think there was any danger, but when I realized the water kept rising so quickly, I tried to jump over a fence, but it broke."
On Phi Phi island where "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed 200 bungalows at two resorts were swept out to sea.
"I am afraid that there will be a high figure of foreigners missing in the sea and also my staff," said Chan Marongtaechar, owner of the PP Princess Resort and PP Charlie Beach Resort.
Some 200 seriously injured people, most of them foreigners, were evacuated by helicopter from the island after dark, said Maj. Gen. Winai Nilasri of the Border Patrol Police. He said the island, which was crammed with tourist facilities, was without electricity.
There was no tsunami threat for western North America or Hawaii, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
Scientists said the catastrophic death toll across the region might have been reduced if India and Sri Lanka had been part of an international warning system designed to advise coastal communities that a potentially killer wave was approaching. The system relies on a network of earthquake seismic sensors and tidal gauges attached to buoys in the oceans.
Indonesia, a country of 17,000 islands, is prone to seismic upheaval because of its location on the margins of tectonic plates that make up the so-called the "Ring of Fire" around the Pacific Ocean basin.
The Indonesian quake struck just three days after an 8.1 quake struck the ocean floor between Australia and Antarctica, causing buildings to shake hundreds of miles away but no serious damage or injury.
Quakes reaching a magnitude 8 are very rare. A quake registering magnitude 8 rocked Japan's northern island of Hokkaido on Sept. 25, 2003, injuring nearly 600 people. An 8.4 magnitude tremor that struck off the coast of Peru on June 23, 2001, killed 74.
The world's biggest earthquake in 40 years hit southern Asia on December 26, 2004, unleashing a tsunami that crashed into Sri Lanka and India, drowning thousands and swamping tourist isles in Thailand and the Maldives. (Reuters Graphic)
Residents walk through the trail of destruction along the coastal railway line in the southern Sri Lankan town of Lunawa after tsunami tidal waves lashed more than half of Sri Lanka's coastline.(AFP/Sena Vidangama)
A general view of the scene at the Marina beach in Madras after tidal waves hit the region. Disaster struck just after dawn as a huge earthquake in Indonesia sent tsunamis crashing westwards.(AFP/Str)
A car floating after tidal waves hit the region of Madras. From hardest-hit Sri Lanka to resort islands in Thailand, holidaymakers from Britain described the destruction caused when tidal waves triggered by a powerful earthquake off Indonesia hit their resorts, in messages to radio, television stations and news agencies back home.(AFP/Podhigai TV via LCI)
A video image shows foreign tourists (C) as they stretcher an injured person along a destroyed beach on Phi Phi island, Thailand December 26, 2004, following a large earthquake. The world's biggest earthquake in 40 years hit south Asia on Sunday, unleashing a tsunami that crashed into Sri Lanka and India and swamped tourist isles in Thailand and the Maldives, killing more than 6,300 people.A wall of water up to 10 metres (30 feet) high triggered by the 8.9 magnitude underwater earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra caused death, chaos and devastation. REUTERS/Reuters TV BEST AVAILABLE QUALITY
Foreign tourists walk past tsunami-damaged houses in Phi Phi island in Krabi province, Thailand. Tsunamis hit Sri Lanka; similar scenes were played out on the western coast of Thailand, as well as in Myanmar, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and the Maldives, devastating some of Asia's most popular tourist spots.(AFP/ITV)
Seychelles affected, some eyewitness accounts from around the Indian Ocean region:
Your experiences of Asian disaster
Wreckage in Colombo
This is the second page of your comments on earthquakes and huge waves that have devastated large parts of South and South East Asia.
The following is a selection of the reports we received:
I have been surprised to see that most media has been reporting that the damage has been confined to the immediate South East Asian and Sub-continental coastline when in fact we here in Seychelles (some +2000kms South) have been hit by a barrage of tidal fluctuations which have decimated most of our coastline. Our capital has been flooded. Major Roads washed away and in all likelihood lives lost. More will become apparent as events unfold. From what i understand similar effects have been reported as far south as Mauritius and Reunion.
Nelson Vidot, Mahe, Seychelles
Local TV channels in Chennai report more than 3000 dead in Tamil Nadu alone. My question: The MET dept warns of after shocks in the evening can the after shocks be of higher intensity than the parent one (8.9)?
We are on a drill ship about 100miles off the coast of India, near Kakinada. We are in 3,000ft water depth, but even so experienced a large swell of around 2metres pass through about 1030hrs local time. We are also experiencing swells from the after shocks - our supply base, in Kakinada, has been clobbered, luckily with no casualties and the port area has been evacuated.
Bob Forrest, Discoverer Seven Seas, Bay of Bengal
Many tidal waves have reached Reunion Island where many fishing boats have sunk in the coastal harbours. Nobody died. More tidal waves are expected in the evening. The authorities have prohibited the access to the harbours and to the beaches.
Swami Advayananda, Le Port, Reunion Island
Since tsunami is virtually unknown in India, many lives could have been saved if known. Curious onlookers who rushed to the marina beach to see what was happening were sucked in by the tidal waves. My heart goes to all the people who lost their lives in this calamity.
Shanthi Subba Rao, Chennai, India
My mother left her brother's resort "Khao lak Paradise Resort" in Phang-nga, Thailand just 30 minutes before the wave struck. Now everything is gone, the tourists and bungalows have been swept away. She has told me that one staff member who was there survived...he said the water started to recede and that everyone went down to the beach to look, it was like that for about 10 minutes and then there was a roar. I'm so glad my Mum is OK, my uncle who owns the resort and lives close by also left with his children before the wave hit...but some of our family friends are missing.
Sunsanee, Melbourne, Australia
My family and I are residents of a seaside village called Muttukadu, about 30 kms. south of the Marina Beach at Madras, India. This morning just before the Tsunami struck (most unexpectedly since the sky was blue, calm waters, no clouds, no tell tales signs of disaster in the pipe line) we were at home which is about 100 meters inland; sitting around after breakfast enjoying a beautiful day. Suddenly at about 9:05 am we heard a sound that resembled a tipper lorry unloading rocks. The wave that came in was not very tall - maybe about 1 or 1.5 meters high but was a mass of water that was scary.
Water rose to about 2 or 3 feet on our land and we managed to save one girl who was trapped in side a hut. After 3 hours of help and rescue when we realized that the waves were coming in a cyclic pattern, we packed into our cars and are now inland in the city. I am told that several children are still missing and that the police have cordoned off the East Coast Road. One shudders to think what the magnitude of the tragedy would had it been night and the villagers were sleeping.
Navaz Currimbhoy, India - Madras
Trying to phone into Sri Lanka and all calls are just not going through from the UK. Phone lines are down and mobile networks are just not working! Txt messages are getting through. That's the only communication I have with my family on holiday over there.
S. Perera, London, UK
My wife and I were staying on the 13th floor of a Penang Hotel when we were woken up at 9am by our shaking bed. When we got out of bed we realised then that the floor was moving. We evacuated the building by the fire escape which was also shaking. At this point, I didn't think we would get out the building alive.
Later in the day, I went to the west coast of Penang Island, where we met locals in the fishing villages which were affected. A number of people were missing from these villages. A policeman we met said over 100 people had died in Penang alone as a result of the tsunami.
David Buffin (from London), Penang, Malaysia
My 3 dogs acted strangely shortly before 9 am local time - trying to lure me out of our house... when I followed them, I saw the pool making waves and overflowing. I didn't feel any movements. But the animals obviously did. Until reading first news, my family thought I'm gone bonkers for telling "my morning story".
Madelaine Jantos, Kuala Lumpur, Malausia
We are from Chile, and used to earthquakes, so we prefer to live close to the ground. But in Bangkok, without that threat, we are in a 32nd floor in Sukhumvit. This morning, however, we were shook for about 5 minutes as the building swayed from the initial long shock. We know quakes, yet this one really scared us regardless of our previous experience. Was fearsome and we felt helpless at that height.
Diego Velasco, Bangkok
Only yesterday afternoon(the 25th), my friend and I were sitting in the same Marina beach, watching local people enjoy a golden evening and today all those footprints have been washed away...and more.
Arun Rabindar, Chennai, TN, India
Not much mention has been made of Penang which is an island so close to Medan / Aceh. Our 2nd floor apartment here shook, Christmas tree decorations were vibrating, windows rattling and computer screen moved across the desk. We've heard that the main tourist area - Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bunga have been affected; sirens have been blaring out all day.
Anne, Penang, Malaysia
Those who own large vessels have been urged to travel to populated islands and fishing areas to help rescue people
Haifa, Villingilli, Maldives
The death toll is likely to rise. Dhaalu Atoll is very badly hit. Most tourist resorts are being evacuated to the airport island and some tourists taking refuge in schools on Male' island. Those who own large vessels have been urged to travel to populated islands and fishing areas to help rescue people. The only radio station is just broadcasting prayers and no news. Panic in some of the islands due to lack of news from elsewhere in the country.
Haifa, Villingilli, Maldives
I just return from the beach area and as I write this the whole of the city is still to get over the nightmare with masses of bodies along the Govt hospitals, truly mind boggling experience and the state authorities are groping in the dark over the relief measures given to battered families alongside the coastline. The City itself would have more than a 500 people dead.
R.N. Srinivasan, Chennai, India
There were 60 people stranded at Emeral cave in Trang Province, Thailand. The big wave struck the western coast Trang province shoreline around 11 o'clock. The rescue could not come out for rescue till 2 o'clock in the afternoon because of the high wave. By 2:00 p.m. Thai rescue officers arrived at the cave. Two people were found dead. The rest of the people were rescued to safety. No one was found floating in the sea.
Sutatip Emery, Bangkok Thailand
I was in the island of Vypeen near Kochi in the morning when at around 11 am huge waves maybe up to 8 feet struck the coastal line. Panic was widespread. Boats were found floating. In the evening news I was very much frightened to hear that 80 people have been killed in Quilon district & nearly 43 in Alleppey district. I still cannot believe that such a thing ever happened to me. It is indeed terrible
Krishnakumar, Kochi, Kerala, India
At 12.30 gmt, there were 6-7 metres high waves appeared near Cuddalore, 200 kms to the South of Madras. Nagapattinam and Cuddalore are badly affected in Tamilnadu. In Cuddalore 300+ and Nagapattinam 2350+ people died.
Vijayanand, Kumbakonam (Tamilnadu, India)
As an Australian medic I, along with two other medical students who witnessed the tsunami were taken to the Ko Lanta hospital where we have worked since midday. I was involved in 2 unsuccessful resuscitations of drowning victims, and treated over sixty foreign holidaymakers with injuries, mainly multiple fractures, some severe such as skull factures and suspected spinal fractures.
There have been 3 confirmed dead on Ko Lanta with a number of missing local children. One family from Sweden with 10 children were swept from their longboat and sustained multiple abrasions and fractures but survived. We have evacuated 25 patents by military helicopter to the mainland. People are awaiting another wave and most are camping out on hilltops, not that any accommodation at beach level remains.
Benjamin Gilmour, Thailand
Our daughter/partner was due to be married on the beach in Trincomalee on east coast of Sri Lanka tomorrow. They contacted us by mobile text. Thank god they are OK. They only have us for news updates. They have been moved to another hotel to wait further instructions-they have food & water.
Rob Green, Newbury, England
My family and I are staying on the east side Phuket, Cape Panwa, and we experienced the earthquake. We were supposed to go on a boat ride with some friends we met out here, they are now in hospital with broken bones cuts and bruises, and we were fortunate enough not to have joined them. We experienced a flood on the beach this morning and strange sea tides all day, I have never seen the sea move so much in one day. Unfortunately another English couple on a boat ride today brought a woman back on land in shock after taking pictures of her husband snorkelling, then after the wave hit he was no-where to be seen.....
I was woken up by the shaking of my bed. Then at around 8.30 am I heard the water had inundated into the coast. I went to the beach to see it for myself and found signs of water coming into the road a few hundred metres from the shore. Then some 20 minutes later the sea became rough again and water started coming in. It went back again. There was a dent formed in the coastline from where I was and water was gushing through it. I didn't realise the severity of the calamity until I learnt the magnitude of life loss.
Joseph Edward, Chennai, India
We sailed from the island of Ko Phi Phi in Thailand at 9 this morning, an hour into the journey, the boat was detoured and we spent some time on another island in between Phuket and Krabi. It appears we were sheltered from the full force of the tsunami by Phuket. I would like to thank the Thai captain of the boat for his decisive action. He may well have saved many more lives.
Nick and Clare Ashton, Ise, Japan
Some older buildings here have developed cracks in the aftermath of tremors forcing residents to pour out onto the streets
Manoj Gurnani, Chennai
Nobody has yet spoken of structural damages suffered by inland buildings in Chennai, some older buildings here have actually developed cracks in the aftermath of tremors early morning 6.30 forcing residents to pour out onto the streets.
Manoj Gurnani, Chennai
I am a cabin crew with Qatar Airways. My friend and colleague just flew to Bangkok. I hope he's ok. My condolences to all those who lost loved ones in this disaster and loads of hope to those whose status is unknown.
Ashish Sheth, Doha, Qatar
At least 2000 bodies have been found so far. At Velankanni alone more than 1000 bodies of people who were at Mass have been found...It is much bigger than originally thought to be.
What about ships? Those are very busy shipping lanes around there. In addition to fisher people is there any word on the fate of oil tankers, container ships etc in the area?
We, in Bangladesh, have been comparatively lucky. But I've heard from relatives in Chittagong - their house is quite destroyed and the area is flooded. They say water from the ponds 'flew' out... and more damage was done by that, than by the earth 'quaking'. A friend from Dhaka says his parents were frightened by the ground shaking during their morning walk. We're all worried - what if there's another earthquake?
Nabila Idris, Dhaka, Bangladesh
I felt the earthquake this morning and thought it was someone shaking my bed. Thinking nothing of it I went to the harbour at 10am to catch the ferry from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi, as we we're about to leave a huge wave came heading for us, the boat was evacuated and luckily all the people on the ferry were driven to higher ground. Later i came back to look for my left luggage and 100's of boats have been washed up the river and smashed into each other and the shore. Devastated Thai people are upset because their livelihood has been ruined.
Robin Woodhouse, Phuket, Thailand
I have seen in Thiruvottiyur Beach sea come out and many boats sink inside but there is no rescue for the fishermen. Many of them were inside the boat but they couldn't get out, only one helicopter has gone to rescue and only to Marina Beach not to Thiruvottiyur Beach.
Vijay, Chennai, India
Sri Lanka is under a pall of mourning. Casualty figures compiled on the basis of information given by callers from affected areas to radio stations in Colombo, indicate that well over a thousand lives have been lost in the North and East alone and that bodies continue to be brought in. Entire villages and parts of coastal towns appear to have been razed to the ground. Reports indicate continuing tidal turbulence. Witnesses describe the tide within the Trincomalee harbour going out several times leaving the seabed exposed.
Even the main commercial city of Colombo has been affected with the sea coming in at Mattakuliya forcing residents to abandon their homes and seek shelter on high ground. Sea water has come in along the Wellawatta and Dehiwala canals forcing residents to leave their homes. There is widespread fear of more tidal waves and people are being advised not to return to the affected areas for at least a few days.
Nirmalan Dhas, Colombo. Sri Lanka
Bodies were lined up along the road running along the beach in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia
Robert Juhl, Batu Ferringhi, Malaysia
Bodies were lined up along the road running along the beach in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia. The sirens of emergency vehicles have been wailing all afternoon. Many local people were probably enjoying a Sunday at the beach when the waves hit.
Robert Juhl, Batu Ferringhi, Malaysia
One slum village (Vettuvangany few km from Adyar) was completely swamped by big tide which moved more than 100meters from the usual sea shore. Many people were crying at this village. We saw many casualties including Doctors who were on a different medical camp.
Saravanakumar, Chennai, India
Why was there no warning of such massive disaster?
Abdul, Dubai, UAE
After returning to my room on the 46 floor at the Banyan Tree Bangkok I sat down to watch some TV then the room started shaking. It shook for a while. I thought the wind had picked up and the building was swaying with it because it went on for some time. Looking out the window I could see people running from the hotel. I ran out to the hallway and to the elevator. Several of us got on and it shook and scraped the rails all the way down. We didn't think we were going to make out.
Cooper Caywood, Bangkok, Thailand
Today I happened to have a look at the Marina Beach which is the only promenade of Chennai. Water has entered the roads well inside and the sight of beach sands disappeared. Police cordoned off those areas. Also the area where I live T Nagar and West Mambalam we felt the tremor like somebody was trying to rock us hard and wake up in the morning. This is the first time that such a thing has happened in Chennai. All roads from the city to the Marina beach has been blocked
Anantha Krishnan, Chennai-TamilNadu-Indu
My girlfriend and her sister arrived in Sri Lanka on Christmas day and are staying in the south western coastal resort of Bentota, Sri Lanka. We've been trying the UK government helpline since 8.30am but are yet to get through. Any news of the region would be greatly appreciated.
Dr Chris Jones, Cardiff, South Wales
The situation in Male' is now improving. There haven't been any more floods since this morning. Parts of the sea wall around Male' island has collapsed and more waves could prove to be quite disastrous. Still several divers in resort islands and fishermen and sailors out at sea have not been accounted for. Communication to islands outside Male' Atoll is down. The fate of people in more remote islands is still unknown. The airport has been closed and the whole country is stranded.
Ali Adam, South Male' Atoll, Maldives
It was something totally unexpected. Waves were nearly 10-15 feet high. The most affected are the villages close to the sea. We live next to the lagoon by the time the wave made it across the lagoon it was not that bad. Waters were only up to knee level. A children's home & the village in which it was is still totally under water.
Devika, Batticaloa Sri Lanka
I live a few hundred miles north of Phuket, Thailand in Bangkok, and we felt the effects even this far north. My apartment is on the 22nd floor of a large building and I was startled awake this morning from the noise of creaks and moans coming from the walls and ceiling. When I tried to stand, it was like my apartment was on a boat. The whole building was swaying to the point that it was difficult to walk. I grabbed my wife and we evacuated the building along with the other residents.
Jake Meyer, Bangkok, Thailand
There has been one reported death with more reports of injuries coming in. A British tourist at White Sand Beach resort island in South Ari atoll, which is adjacent to Male atoll, died from a heart attack possibly after seeing the huge wave coming to the island, an official said. Some 285 tourists were on the beach at the time, and an Italian tourist, who was washed ashore while sleeping in a water bungalow, was seriously injured. The identities of the British and Italian tourist were not revealed. The tidal wave struck Male at around 9:20am local time according to the Meteorology Department.
Fuaan, Male, Maldives
Around 6.45 am on Sunday morning, there were mild tremors which woke residents of Madras up. The tremors were mild and must have lasted a few minutes at most. It appears that after 8.30 am or thereabouts the tidal waves hit the seashore and caught early morning joggers on the beach by surprise and incoming seawater inundated the shores and some cars and vehicles parked on the road adjoining the beach were washed aside and toppled. The worst hit were the fishing folks who live in huts very close to the sea and it does appear as though a large number of them have been rendered homeless and missing.
Vasan S S, Madras, India
In Bangladesh light tremors were felt across 30 districts. Water in the ponds went up and down for minutes. The tremors were felt around 7:15 am this morning. Some Buildings have collapsed in Chittagong. Local TV channels are saying that water had entered the houses of many people from the ponds. The water went up and down every minute. Nothing like this has been ever seen. There are no reports of casualties yet. The residents of Dhaka felt a mild tremor.
Umran, Dhaka, Bangladesh
I only hope those large buildings in Bangkok were built to cope with such movement like that
Trevor Morgan, Phuket, Thailand
Tourists should definitely stay clear of southern Thailand and the region as a whole- still very, very dangerous. Friends in Bangkok experienced the shake and said their building swayed- I only hope those large buildings in Bangkok were built to cope with such movement like that. I have a fear that this will effect their stability and some will be weakened with dire consequences over the next few weeks.
Trevor Morgan, Phuket, Thailand
My best friend just called me... she and her family were on a scuba diving trip in the Maldives, just north of the capital, she saw the tidal wave as high as a bungalow, and is in a state of shock that her island, she's visited time and time again, is "no longer there" - there's no sand, and everything is destroyed, no casualities though on that particular island.
My friend Simon Cook just phoned me (if family read, he's OK), on holiday there, said the 9am ferry to Phi Phi was missing, he luckily missed it! He said there are 30ft boats in the middle of streets and had seen several bodies scattered about.
Ian, Malaysia (Other side from disaster)
We saw our beach bungalow torn apart & dragged into the see. There was 2 more surgess after things got even worse. We've been told by police to leave the Island. We,ve lost everything & don't know where to go next except towards the east.
Ian Jeffreys, Patong, Phuket
Well my family and I were enjoying the sun and the beach at 11 am this morning. as we looked at other hotel guest staring at something on the horizon, we soon became aware that a huge wave was heading our way with little to no time we grabbed what we could and just managed to get high enough! another soon came afterwards. Most of the southern beached and houses of Krabi are destroyed, the wave carried long boats, cars and trees onto the land and crushed them with its power!!
Robert Herrick, Krabi, Thailand
Many fishermen have not returned
Vasanth, Chennai, India
It was a terrible experience; I am a resident near marina beach. Morning walkers and joggers were washed away; many fishermen in our locality have not returned.
Vasanth, Chennai, India
Chennai is a large city, area around the coast has got most of the damage and lot of high-rise building saved the city .As the city is spread around an area of 56 km including the suburb. Only the land around the seashore was affected. Most of fishing community was affected because of it. More than 5000 fishing boats have disappeared. People here have never felt any thing like this before. Corpses litter the beach.
Karthik Muthuraman, Chennai , India
Quake felt at 7:10 AM local time. Building shaking. Water of Gulshan lake disturbed. small broken free from moorings and fishing platforms damaged. No injuries reported.
Graham Tyrie, Dhaka, Bangladesh
My brother is close to Balikpapan, and has just contacted us to say all is well on the east coast of Borneo, spoke with someone from Jakarta and they did not feel it at all.
Dawn, Balikpapan, Borneo
The slum residents and the fisherfolk were the worst affected. The traffic was in complete chaos. The victims are being evecuated to nearby schools and wedding halls.
Katheeja Talha, Chennai,India
I am a British Soldier in Brunei. We never felt a thing here but our hearts are with the ones that are in trouble...If only there was something we could do...
Steve B, KB, Brunei
Our hotel and airport are destroyed, we have no way of getting off the island, many people are missing, a 50ft wave hit us with no warning, we are experiencing aftershocks, more waves are coming, we are heading to the hills on the cable car
Jeremy & Lisa, Langkawi Malaysia
Shocking waves of height up to 10 feet swept across Penang coast line. At Batu Ferringi, marine police was seen retrieving bodies floating at sea. Ambulances are still rushing to affected areas.
Edmund Pua, Tanjong Bungah, Malaysia
Just getting ready for breakfast this morning in Kandy, Sri Lanka when the floor of my hotel room shook and rolled. Later as the news began to break of the tidal waves I phoned home to say I was OK. My thoughts go out to all the families who have suffered.
Bob Johnson, Telford, England
I would like to send my deep felt sympathy to all affected and also to say that it has also reached the Seychelles. We have two young kids dead (apparently drowned) and the county is also on full alert. I haven't ever in my entire life seen a whole bay emptied out in such a short period of time. Lots of property damage. All is not over here we waiting for the water to rise again.
Michael Arnephie, Seychelles
We felt the ground shaking in our home with hundred of high rise building residents fleeing from home to open area afraid for their safety. The ground shaking incident had happen and lasted for around 2 minutes (From Malaysia time 9.00am). It was horrifying experience as we have not experience such great shake like this before.
Lim Seow Hoe, Penang, Malaysia
This morning I rode down to the beach front, ambulances whizzing past me. When I got near the beach front I saw cars piled on cars. Four terrified girls asked me to take them to safety. On the beach front road lay two boats, one had been crushed by a flying bus; cars have been thrown through two story buildings. I saw three dead being carried away. I spent the day helping where I could taking people to high ground. There was a mile long traffic jam snaking up and out of Patong, it was like a biblical exodus. My local super market was one floor underground, it had been flooded, the chance of survival for the staff is close to zero.
Shane Cordell, Patong, Phuket, Thailand
Heavy tremor had struck at 7.45 am local time...here all high rise buildings were waved like a cradle....but we don't know about the causalities.....all people here were panicky.. Rajasekar
I was at Gurney Drive when I saw waves of mud washed up on the shore front. The waves reached up to Gurney Plaza which is about 200 meters from the coast line. Part of Gurney Drive is covered in mud.
Wen Chong, Cheah, Penang, Malaysia
Huge tidal waves hit many different coastal areas here in Sri Lanka. The most devastating tides were seen in Muttur and Trincomalee and the death toll is nearing four figures as of now. Witnesses are bewildered as to how fast everything happened. One moment they saw the sea water rise to heights of around 20-feet and the next moment it was as calm as ever. Some parts of Colombo have also seen minor waves entering the shores, some hitting the rail roads and bringing down shanties. This is the first and worst we have ever seen.
Mohamed Mohideen, Colombo, Sri Lanka
I'm currently in Varkala, Kerala, South East India for Christmas. Large waves came in early afternoon sweeping over people on the beach. Lifeguards saw the first wave coming in and alerted swimmers. Luckily no one was hurt. Afterwards sunbathers could be seen searching in waist deep water looking for their belongings. The beach backs onto a huge cliff so the village above was protected. I've heard from locals that up to 60 fishermen have been killed 25 kms further south but haven't heard any local news reports myself.
Helen Eldridge, Verkala, India (usually London, UK)
A significant number of Thais and tourists were washed out to sea, but most were later saved through acts of individual heroism
Nicholas Bennett, Kata, Phuket, Thailand
At about 10.15 a.m. this morning the first of three tidal waves struck, luckily at low tide, and washed away a number of seaside restaurants and hotels, threw cars and boats inland and washed away all the tourist boats. A significant number of Thais and tourists were washed out to sea, but most were later saved through acts of individual heroism. There were two more waves. The second was larger than the first, but the third smaller.
Nicholas Bennett, Kata, Phuket, Thailand
I got a phone call at 7.00 am this morning from daughter in surf resort of Sorake beach Pulau Nias. She described early morning shocks, the quickly rising & falling sea levels, lower houses flooded initially and some people left for higher ground. 10 am call that sea level rising rapidly, everyone evacuated to higher ground.
Annette Windle, Dronfield UK
The entire town area of Mahe is under water and the outer islands are been cleared.
Alcindor, Mahe, Seychelles
I used to go for a walk every morning along the Marina Beach in Chennai.At around 7 am when I reached the place I was really shocked to see the water engulfing the entire beach and entering the Beach Road.
Rajan, Chennai, India
My sister is a dive instructor on Ko Phi Phi and will be spending tonight half way up a mountain. Through the miracle of mobile phones I know that she is alive, but unfortunately she can't locate her boyfriend and has seen that people have died. I pray for all the people caught up in this at the moment
Mike Harding, Neston, Cheshire
We, few students of IIT Madras were on tour to beach, but we are shocked to see hundreds of people at nearby slums. One slum village (Vettuvangany few km from Adyar) was completely swamped by big tide which moved more than 100meters from the usual sea shore. Many people were crying at this village. We saw many casualties.
Saravanakumar, Chennai, India
More than 1032 people died due to this earthquake, alone in Tamil Nadu,600 people died and nearly 200 people from Chennai. Many people are missing too. The intensity of quake was so much that water in the ponds and rivers in the districts of Kolkata in West Bengal was swelling .
Shazia Nikhat, Kolkata, India
It was a terrible experience, I am a resident near marina beach morning walkers and joggers washed away . Many fisherman in our locality did not turn up.
Vasanth, Chennai, India
My son - on a world trip with wife and child - is anchored in his yacht at Phuket, he phoned me that they are all-right, included the boat. He had no time to tell more .
Luckily the coral reefs and other islands to the north of us have protected the islands here
K Anthony, The Maldives
I'm based in South Ari Atoll in the Maldives and we weren't affected. Luckily the coral reefs and other islands to the north of us have protected the islands here. We have food, water and power and life goes on as normal. The airport in Male will soon be open again as normal.
K Anthony, The Maldives
Why was there no warning provided by authorities in the countries affected? Surely satellites, and tankers could have provided some warning of what was coming. Why is no one asking these questions?
George Murray, Graz, Austria
I felt the tremor and feared the worst. We had little time to prepare for the waves, no-one could have prepared for what arrived. My home has been destroyed, I have lost everything. I thank God i am alive to send this message.
Sandeep Kumar Jain, Chennai, India
I am on a small island called Mirhi in the South Ari Atoll in the Maldives, which is just around 50m wide and 150m long. At around 10.00am this morning, there were some waves, and the tide had covered the whole island with knee high water. Fortunately there were no casualties, just temporary loss of power. It all happened so quickly and the water levels resided pretty quickly too.
Govardhan VS, Mirhi, Maldives
My art gallery on the Beach Road containing 4000 paintings has been literally swept away and with it 18 years of my wife's work and ten years of mine. The worst part is that the government has stated that another Tsunami is on the way and will strike at any time now so maybe our house which is about 7 minutes from the beach is next to go.
Paul Conner, Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand.
My husband was walking on the beach in Nai Harn when he noticed people running. When he turned around the water was rushing back in towards the shore. He didn't have time to run, so he just started swimming. He got washed into the lagoon at the end of the beach and found himself caught in a boiling whirlpool. He was lucky enough to see a large, red cooler box and grabbed onto it. After a few minutes he was close enough to the jungle to grab onto a tree and pull himself out. The beach is a disaster now with all of the local restaurants and beach chairs businesses totally destroyed.
Ms. Q, Phuket, Thailand
I was jogging early morning at once I saw with the huge noise the waves came in
K.Prasanna, Colombo, Sri Lanka
I was jogging early morning at once I saw with the huge noise the waves came in a flash which covered the entire area with floods. The shops and small houses around have collapsed people were running all over to find a safe place and some were trying to carry their belongings with them. Many people are displaced and forces are trying there best to help the people are affected.
K.Prasanna, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Part of the island has been flooded, no casualties reported. All international flights in and out of capital Mali cancelled until further notice. Reports in that they are partly under sea water 3 ft! Some islands worst hit on east coast report of people climbing palm trees. All phones out of action including mobiles. Satellite only. 1 week of holiday to go! Hope I make it back!
James Hurley, Keradu, Maldives
We felt the building shake at about 8.00am and thought it may have been an earthquake but were not too sure. Went back to bed and about 90mins later woke up to see a wall of water, trees and cars coming towards us very quickly. Didn't have much time to collect our belongings before water began coming into the apartment. It was quite scary!
Chris Anderson, Phuket, Thailand
According to local radio news reports in Colombo, more than 1,000 people in Sri Lanka have been killed in the coastal area of Hambantota alone. Meanwhile, urban coastal areas of Mount Lavinia and Dehiwela have also been affected, as the waves reached the railway tracks running parallel to the coastline.
C. Rodrigo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
We are in an apartment over looking the beaches Batu Ferringhi and Tangjung Bungah. The first tidal surge came in very fast around 3pm, washing away a fishing village nearby. Fishing boats capsized as the surge hits. Ambulances are going up and down with beach tending to casualties.
Daniel McKinney, Penang, Malaysia
Because of the Christmas celebration there were more than 2000 pilgrims stationed in Vailankanni, out of which half of them were staying in the hotels nearby the sea, and 300 and more bathing in the sea, there are piles of dead people being brought to the hospitals and still more unfound.
Sebastin Sanjay, Vailankanni, TN, India
We were able to text Koh Pha-Ngan (Thailand) and confirm that the island has not been touched.
Tim Cordy, Grantham UK