A two minutes’ silence was observed islandwide today (Dec. 26), the National Safety Day from 9.25 a.m. to 9.27 a.m. commomerating all who lost their lives in the 2004 tsunami and other natural disasters in Sri Lanka.
Today marks the 18th anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, one of the world’s deadliest and most destructive natural disasters, which impacted over 10 countries in the Indian Ocean.
A powerful undersea megathrust earthquake, which registered a magnitude of 9.1, struck off the coast of Sumatra Island, Indonesia on a Sunday morning, 26th of December 2004.
About 20 minutes after the shock, Indonesia’s capital Banda Aceh, which was closest to the epicentre of the earthquake, was devastated by massive 100-foot waves, claiming the lives of more than 100,000.
A series of turbulent waves then ravaged the coasts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives, Myanmar and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
In all, deaths from the disaster mounted over 230,000 in a matter of hours.
Sri Lanka was one of the hardest-hit countries with over 40,000 fatalities and property damage worth several million rupees. Thousands were left homeless as waves pushed debris several kilometres inland, pounding buildings into rubble.
Tamils dominated north and East were affected more and thousands of Tamils lost their lives. But Sri Lankan government and international communities abandoned those affected in Tamil areas.