What is the Deadliest Tsunami in History?

Tsunami is a Japanese term which means “harbor waves”. This word has been used by many people in order to describe tidal waves produced by the dislodgment of a huge amount of water usually seen in oceans and seas. Some of us may be thinking “surfer waves”, but a tsunami is usually a lot bigger and a lot more damaging. Japan was able to coin this term because of its countless experiences with tsunamis. It actually has a recorded 195 tsunamis in history and most of them have claimed thousands of lives and left a lot more homeless. Tsunamis can be a result of a lot of factors including underwater explosions, volcanic eruptions and even meteor impacts. However, one of the most common causes is probably from earthquakes because its occurrence is more frequent compared to the others. But what is the deadliest tsunami in history? The deadliest tsunami did not happen in Japan.

The tsunami which happened in the Indian Ocean in the year 2004 is the most deadliest tsunami ever recorded in history. This tsunami is considered the deadliest in history because it has affected more or less 10 countries and has resulted to an extremely high mortality rate. This tsunami was caused by a tectonic plate shifting under the Indian Ocean that has resulted to a tsunami with a speed similar to a jet plane. This tsunami headed to different nearby coastal regions including the ones in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, India and Myanmar. Because of this unfortunate event, almost 200 thousand people were left dead or missing. In addition to the devastating tsunami, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake took place west of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia that has also caused thousands of lives and millions homeless. This event took place in the morning of the 26th of December 2004, just days before the New Year.

Tsunamis are exceptionally capable of washing out coastal villages and towns in just a few minutes. The Indian Ocean tsunami even left most of Sri Lanka underwater. This experience served as a wake up call to everyone that tsunamis can happen everywhere at any time, even though tsunamis are common in the Pacific region.

Nowadays, high technology warning signs and devices are already invented in order to warn people of an incoming tidal wave or tsunami. These devices are spearheaded by the Japanese government since Japan is considered a tsunami prone country. These inventions are immensely useful because of their ability to detect tsunami formations and relay information to the coast guards for early evacuation. Even though it can detect the possibility of a tsunami only minutes prior to the actual event, these few minutes are still considered valuable because it can still save thousands of lives.

So what is the deadliest tsunami in history? As of now, the Indian Ocean tsunami holds the title; however, it is most likely that another tsunami just like this, or even worse, could happen in the future. That is why it is necessary for people to prepare and always be aware.

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