December 27, 2004


Before the news came in we had no idea about the 8.9 quake that originated near Indonesia which shook the whole South & Southeast Asia bay regions and triggered giant tsunami waves to wash out millions leaving thousands of dead. We in Dhaka did not notice the tremble as it was not intense. The aftershocks of that quake jolted mainly the coastal areas and weakened deep into Bangladesh. Chittagong recorded 7.36 scale tremble for 42 seconds eventhough it was 1019 kilometres away from the seismic centre. The second tremor was measured almost two hours later at 4.35 on the scale. In the southeastern island of Sandwip,10 to 15 foot tidal surges dumped fish ashore. But miraculously the destruction was limited to cracks in some farmland and some buildings and low tidal surges along coastline. There were only reports of death of two children drowned as a boat with about 15 tourists capsized in high waves off Kuakata, a sea resort in Patuakhali district, 150km south of Dhaka.

Notably one mysterious thing happened across the country. There were waterquakes as the trembles swelled only water by 4 to 5 feet in the ponds and other water bodies as up North to Sylhet & Naogaon and caused the fishes to jump to adjacent plane. The earth jolts were minor in those area and as minimum as six seconds.

Aftab Alam, a geologist and quake-specialist explained:

"This quake mainly shook the ocean waters which is interconnected with the sub-soil water tables. The hydrostatic pressure increased and that resulted in water surges in different water bodies across the country."

Was Bangladesh lucky because it was long away from the epicenter? I guess not because Tsunami waves hit as far as Somalia. Probably this was a miracle but Bangladesh had a close call of disaster.

Meanwhile the death toll rose to about 15,000 and I think it would be much more as there are islands with poor communication close to the epicenter which should be badly hit by the waves.

The updates of the tragedy are being tracked by Tim Blair, The Independent, Rajan, Nitin, Jeff et al. Jeff also has donation and aids information updates.

If you haven't seen the images or read the news you would not be able to grasp the horror and element of surprise associated with the massive tragedy. In Thailand, in a hill along the coast people were casualy dining in a restaurant while tourists in the beach were washed away beneath them. No Tsunami warning system is in function in the places hit. No one was aware of what was happening and how to handle it. It shows that people are at the dominance of mother nature's will.


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