18 years after the Tsunami in Thailand that left more than 200,000 dead

The day after the Christmas 2004 the world was shocked by a natural disaster that shocked the world. The tsunami de Tailandia It was the most devastating in the modern era, causing some 230,000 deaths in 13 Southeast Asian countries. Because they are tourist areas, there were many Argentines there at the time, but they all survived.

Every December 26, the victims of that disaster that was caused by and earthquake magnitude 9.1 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was located 80 kilometers northwest of the Indonesian island of Sumatra and occurred at a depth of 30 kilometers.

Such was the magnitude of the movement that waves of about 30 meters high were generated that reached the coasts of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Burma, and even Somalia, on the African continent.

Photo of the disaster left by the tsunami in the city of Aceh, Indonesia, in 2004For: Tim Gurney | timsimages.uk – stock.adobe.com

the gigantic waves they devoured entire towns and resortsespecially of thailandone of the most popular destinations for tourists from around the world, including many Argentines.

The magnitude placed this earthquake as second largest recorded since the existence of the seismograph (1875), only surpassed by that of ValdiviaChile, occurred in 1960. In addition, it was also second in terms of observed duration (between 8 and 10 minutes) and had the ability to make the planet vibrate an inch, about. He also caused telluric movements in places as far away as Alaska and caused minimal vibrations to be felt in various parts of the world.

Why were there no alerts that allowed the areas to be evacuated?

The absence of warnings made the disaster even more devastating and the world wondered why such a catastrophe could not have been foreseen. The experts explained that the earthquake occurred on the border between the Indian plate and the Myanmar plate. When an oceanic lithospheric plate sinks under another plate (oceanic or continental), at that point there is an enormous amount of energy and tension accumulated for years.

Suddenlythe tension is so much that Without notice the mistake release all that accumulated strength. The upper plate, which until then resisted the pressure of the lower one, simply “bounces” to return to its original position. This upward movement of the seabed to “accommodate” creates a chain reaction of the waters: a tsunamiwhich is a rare phenomenon.

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In addition to the 230,000 deaths, the Thailand tsunami created a situation harrowing throughout the region and left hundreds of thousands of victims, who lost everything they had. This caused a international humanitarian response and they met more than 7 billion dollars that were donated to alleviate the emerging situation.

Miraculously, all Argentines affected by the tsunami managed to survive, and upon their arrival at Ezeiza they recounted the experience, still shaken by the drama they had to live in first person. What Paul Barrerawho was on his honeymoon with his wife in Phi Phi, a paradisiacal Thai island that today, 18 years later, has recovered its splendor.

Satellite view of the tsunami action on the coast of Banda Aceh, Indonesia (Photo: AP/DigitalGlobe).
Satellite view of the tsunami action on the coast of Banda Aceh, Indonesia (Photo: AP/DigitalGlobe).

This Cordovan, who was 28 years old at the time, suffered injuries and arrived in a wheelchair. He said that managed to grab some seaweed while the chain of giant waves destroyed everything. His wife was also able to save herself and when they met again, without knowing how and with the water up to her waist, they embraced for several minutes.

Another of the survivors Ezekiel Gaspesassured that he and his wife were saved because from the minutes before del tsunami they went up to his hotel room. He recounted that as a consequence of the catastrophe a boat was embedded in the room in which they were staying.

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“It seemed to us that we were living a movie in real time and with us as protagonists. It was something tremendous… And hours later, when the water had receded a bit, looking at the consequences from the roof of the hotel It was something that made you cry. In a few minutes that paradise turned into hell”.

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