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[R3-dcom] The 2004 tsunami remembered

2014-12-30 0745
[R3-dcom] The 2004 tsunami remembered

The 2004 tsunami remembered

Perhaps the most destructive tsunami in history killed about 230,000 people
and engulfed Indian Ocean coastal areas in 12 countries on December 26, 2004.

The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, also known as the Boxing Day Tsunami, started
as a massive undersea 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the island of Sumatra,
Indonesia. Banda Aceh on the island's northern tip lost about 170,000 people
as the tsunami travelled inland.

Communities and disaster agencies have learned lessons and made many improvements
in the last decade including greater awareness, preparedness and warning
systems.

The earthquake caused a tsunami that led to the deaths in countries bordering
the Indian Ocean. Indonesia was hard hit, followed by India, Sri Lanka and
Thailand. The waves reached the Maldives, Myanmar, Malaysia, Somalia, Tanzania,
Seychelles, Bangladesh and Kenya.

Tsunami's are rare in the Indian Ocean, catching many by surprise. They are
most prevalent in the Pacific.

Memorial services were held in a number of places on the 10th anniversary.
During the disaster, communications were lost or severely disrupted. It
was the ham radio operator community in many countries that helped to reunite
families and assist in relief operations.

A major effort was mounted by the Radio Society of Sri Lanka (RSSL). On its
website it recalled the occasion. The world's biggest train disaster also
occurred in the Sri Lanka town of Pereliya when a train was washed off the
rails by the tsunami, killing 802 people. The repaired and refurbished train
ran on December 26 2014, on that same schedule to remember this great tragedy.

The RSSL operated disaster communications points between the Prime Ministers
official residence and communications centre and three coastal towns, before
any other communications.

It won the Golden Antenna Award for delivering disaster communications.
The prestigious award bestowed on the RSSL and its President Victor Goonetilleke
4S7VK, was for the outstanding work during the tsunami disaster.

The German town of Bad Bentheim presents the 'Golden Antenna' award to recognise
the use of Amateur Radio technology in connection with humanitarian work.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands (VU4) DXpedition was also suspended to provide
coordination for disaster relief.  Similar emergency communications by radio
amateurs occurred elsewhere.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.

2014-12-25 1939
[R3-dcom] Remembering 2004 Boxing Day tsunami

Remembering 2004 Boxing Day tsunami

The world's worst tsunami that killed about 230,000 people and engulfed coastal
areas in 12 countries occurred on December 26, 2004.

Among those commemorating the anniversary are the many survivors, and disaster
agencies who are reflecting on the lessons learnt and improvements in the
last decade.

A massive earthquake in Sumatra Indonesia caused a tsunami that led to the
deaths in many countries bordering the Indian Ocean. Indonesia was hard hit,
followed by India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The earthquake also triggered a tsunami reaching the Maldives, Myanmar, Malaysia,
Somalia, Tanzania, Seychelles, Bangladesh and Kenya.

Communications were lost or severely disrupted. A DXpedition on the Andaman
and Nicobar Islands (VU4) suspended normal operations to provide coordination
for disaster relief efforts.

The National Institute of Amateur Radio team led by Bharathi Prasad VU2RBI
switched to emergency communications providing vital links with the remote
location.

She was in contact with Indonesia when the tremors were felt. Rushing outside
to check on others, and returned to confirm with hams in Thailand and India's
mainland that they too felt the tremors.

"This remains the first instance in my life to have experienced a severe
disaster and also work for disaster communications, which will remain in
my memory for a lifetime," said Bharathi VU2RBI.

As the tsunami wiped out all in its path it was the ham radio operator community
in many countries that were able to reunite families and assist in relief
operations.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.

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