Damage to Infrastructure
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland said that relief supplies could be moved to tsunami-hit regions in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, but ninety percent of the problem remains in Indonesian archipelago. He estimated that there are currently over 1.8 million people in tsunami-stricken countries in need of food aid around 1 million in Indonesia, and around 700,000 in Sri Lanka, with the remainder in the Maldives and Somalia.
ABC News has reported that heavy rains and fresh floods had disrupted relief efforts in Asia's tsunami-hit countries villages as the United Nations refugee agency started a 400 ton airlift as part of a $2 billion relief operation to save the millions who had survived but were struggling to survive. Tropical rainstorms in Aceh province of Indonesia and flooding along Sri Lanka's low-lying coast also hampered aid deliveries.
Immense Devastation, Banda Aceh
The damage to human and animal life was also tremendous, leaving an estimated 150,000 people dead in Indonesia alone. The latest total death toll is expected to be over 225,000, one of the largest dealt by a tsunami in history.
When the sheer force of a incoming tsunami obliterates everything in its path, it also clears away roads and railways, hampering rescue efforts. In addition, the torrential water deluging entire hectares prevent helicopters from landing.
Normal rescue launches and boats would also be unable to withstand the impact of the tsunami, and could be sunk or smashed into pieces by the walls of water. Not to mention that most of the affected villages were situated in isolated or secluded areas (e.g. islands of the Maldives) and are extremely hard to get to.
The huge mass of water also broke sewage and water pipes, contaminating water and food sources. Subsequently, diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery and dengue then become more rampant. The rotting corpses left behind by the tsunami also helped to spread diseases to the survivors.
Crops, settlements, trees, birds, fishes, wildlife, properties were severely destroyed, with power and communications disrupted, adding on to the daunting task of rescue work. People clung on to trees for their dear life; some were rescued, but some were also swept away, right in front of their relatives and family members. The emotional and mental trauma would remain in all those affected for years, even if they had escaped a watery grave.
Wreckage and Debris
- The Indian Ocean Tsunami: what are the economic consequences?. Retrieved March 7, 2005, from http://www.odi.org.uk/tsunami/tsunami.html
- Coral reefs may take years to recover from tsunamis. The Manila Times Internet Edition. Retrieved March 7, 2005, from http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2004/dec/30/yehey/opinion/20041230opi8.html
- Tsunami consequences. NewsFromRussia.com. Retrieved March 7, 2005, from http://newsfromrussia.com/world/2005/01/03/57689.html