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Imagine more than half of the population of Kenosha being over-taken by a deluge of water without warning or the ability to escape. On December 26, 2004, an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, occurred in the Indian Ocean off of the Samaritan coast, triggering the deadliest tsunami in recorded history. Before the tsunami, this region of the world was one of the most sought after vacation spots. After the record-breaking destruction, the pristine beach front and inviting residents were forever changed. The regional damage was so massive that it demanded a response on a global scale for rescue, recovery, stability, and to rebuild this treasured place. Before the tsunami, this region of the world was one of the most sought after vacation spots. Beachside resorts, breathtaking scenery, and various recreational activities were major tourist attractions. The seemingly tranquil life of the natives and year round warm climate conditions created steady tourism and economic support. With more than thirteen thousand, five hundred different islands for tourists to explore, many visitors enjoyed repeat trips with unlimited experiences. Thailand, Indonesia, and Maldives were thriving developing countries from the economic support provided by the tourism industry. The white sand beaches and lush tropical greenery found on one island could be replaced with glorious mountains and waterfalls form a short boat ride to another island. Tourism flourished because of the many interesting physical characteristics of the area. According to the CIA World Fact Book, Thailand offered its many visitors peaceful democracy and a southern isthmus known to be always hot and humid (CIA World Fact Book). Maldives presented world-class coral reefs and atolls for exploration, while Indonesia gave its many travelers either luxurious five star island resorts or simpler ocean side huts to live like the natives. Indonesia's three distinct geographical areas, Sundah Shelf, Sahul Shelf, and forming volcanic region yielded different tourist attractions as well as agricultural exports. Agriculture provided the second largest percent of gross domestic product behind the leading tourism industry (CIA World Fact Book). The Sumatran region gave visitors a look at production and export of the most important regional exports. Coffee, tea, copra, palm oil, sisal, tobacco, sugar, cocoa, and other spices provided the world with treats and delicacies for both young and old. The National Geographic article on the tsunami stated that the agricultural success depended upon a fresh water supply, steady weather, healthy soil, and quick transport to the world for the perishable commodities (The Deadliest Tsunami in History? 2). A dedicated workforce to farm the land and transport the goods was especially critical for the smaller islands seeking to develop economically and socially. The people of the region were divided into many cultural groups as the number of islands. There were over two hundred and fifty different languages spoken in the area and very little communication, transport, or connection between the many other islands the natives occupied (Southwest 28). Over seventy four percent of the total population of Indonesia worked in agriculture and the remaining participated in tourism or fishing (Southwestern 29). The vast majority lived outside of the beachside resorts in rural areas without access to paved roads, electricity, indoor water, and basic communication services like a telephone or radio. This lack of infrastructure and rural living conditions contributed to the greater loss of life across the vast damage zone. The widespread path of the Indian Ocean tsunami was created by a single shift of the Earth's crust. The Indian plate moved under a section of Burma or Sunda plate over an area more than six hundred miles long causing the seafloor to be pushed up ten yards instantly (The Deadliest Tsunami in History? 1). The earthquake that resulted was one of the highest magnitudes to occur in the Indian Ocean. Waves radiated from the originating site and continued with every aftershock, drowning the region with several fifty-foot high walls of water. The first tsunami wave, and each surge after, took parts of the coastline and pushed it inland by as much as one thousand feet (The Deadliest Tsunami in History? 2). Equally destructive, was the power of the large waves contracting, taking the farmland, homes, boats, roads, whole resorts, towns, and bodies out into the expansive Indian Ocean to be lost. The dramatic changes to the landscape and human condition caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami have taken years to fully recover. The confirmed death toll one year after the Indian Ocean tsunami was two hundred and twenty thousand dead in eleven countries. The countries physically affected were Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Maldives, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. The majority of casualties were in the province Aceh on Sumatra, Indonesia. More than one hundred and thirty thousand people were still missing from Indonesia alone in December 2005 (Indian Ocean Tsunami 2). The initial large tsunami wave hit the Sumatran coastline first, because of the proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake. The fishermen had no warning of the pending catastrophe and could not seek shelter at the harbor because the 9.0 earthquake had already destroyed that part of Indonesia. Most working fishermen lost their lives at sea and their families perished as well in the low-lying coastal huts they resided. A quick warning system to get to higher ground was not available to warn the fishermen and the earthquake deactivated the few sirens on the coastal plain to warn the families. The inadequate road access away from the ocean was an additional unforeseen impediment to escaping death at higher ground. Even though Indonesia recorded the greatest percentage of human casualties, of the eleven countries, the direct impact on their economic growth was minimized because of the location of the damage. The important exports such as tea, coffee, cocoa, and manufactured furniture were grown or manufactured on the opposite side of the devastation. The other nations within the tsunamis reach also had the loss of life along with unbelievable damage to over eight hundred kilometers of coastline as far inland as five miles. Over one hundred and fifty thousand children were left without schools; five hundred thousand people lost their homes and six hundred and fifty four villages were damaged or destroyed from both the earthquake and the tsunami that followed (Indian Ocean Tsunami 4). The earthquake shook the poorly built structures, collapsed roads, and toppled the developing infrastructure. The tsunami took the debris field either out to sea or used it to further level the minimal structures that were left standing. The scattered waste blocked warning, rescue, and aid efforts for an extended period of time, causing the injured to succumb to injuries over the days that followed. The salt water filtered into the human supply compromising the system and farmland was left unusable from the soaking salt-water waves. The physical toll on the land and the human casualties were both factors in the social and economic challenges that followed in the year after the disaster. The socio-economic effects of the tsunami have been recorded from numerous post studies and interviews of survivors. The main socio-economic impact across the region was on the vital tourism industry that employed up to ninety percent of the workforce in some countries. Immediately after the tsunami, reservations were canceled resulting in a drop in visitors to some resorts, by more than sixty percent (Indian Ocean Tsunami 113). More than one year later, the visitation rate was still off by up to twenty five percent from the previous year, in the minimally damaged resort towns. Fear, misinformation, and several smaller earthquakes in the year that followed, contributed to the lower visitation rate and suffering of the survivors. The tourism workforce, who was lucky enough to survive the earthquake and tsunami, were now facing unemployment because the resorts needed less staff to operate. The ability to find employment at the untouched resorts was further impeded by the lack of boat transportation between the many islands and a lack of cooperation between effected nations. The fishing industry had been a flourishing economic and social influence prior to the tsunami. The smallest island experienced a transformation of fishing for subsistence to fishing for export and profitability for the fisherman. Better housing, healthcare, and education were just within reach for these developing nations, when this catastrophe terminated the expansion. At the end of that fateful day, the most crippled areas witnessed the population of the fishermen shrink from thousands to low hundreds. Those that did not lose their lives still lost the ability to fish from the damage to their boats, moorings, or motors (Indian Ocean Tsunami: Langkawi, Malaysia 112). A large number of the fishermen and boats lost could not be actually recorded because the bodies and vessels were washed out to sea. Therefore, economic costs were as difficult to calculate as the loss of life. The ever-changing estimates on the physical and financial impact of the disaster, created a delay in aid from other countries around the world. The largest trading partners to Indonesia, the United States, Japan, and Singapore expressed an immediate desire to help in any way the region needed. The ravaged nation however, did not have the background to speculate how others could assist them though the tragedy. The more experienced, developed nations anticipated that food, medicine, construction equipment, shipping support, and military expertise would be needed to stabilize the land and structures to prevent further casualties from waterborne diseases, malnutrition, untreated injuries, rescue attempts, or the rebuilding efforts. Having skilled reinforcement and financial support meant quicker recovery for the region with minimal consequence to the Gross Domestic Product of the fragile developing nations. The eleven countries exposed to the tsunami were in a region of the world experiencing single digit Gross Domestic Product growth in 2004 and were forecast to continue at that rate. The projected aftermath of the disaster on the region was a negative economic fallout on the main contributors to the Gross Domestic Product. Specifically, the fishing industry was severely diminished, farming or agricultural production was significantly reduced and tourism was weakened to a minimal economic impact on the growth of these small countries. Without intervention, the people of the developing countries were destined to generations of physical suffering and economic turmoil. International aid from governments had been especially important to the smaller economies survival beyond the first year. As much as the tourism and fishing revenue had been undermined, the aid and reconstruction brought new revitalization to the impacted area. As stated in the article, The Economic Impact of the Asian Tsunami, "Because Gross Domestic Product measures all economic activity without considering whether that activity is overall positive or negative, than all the aid expenditures on food, water treatment, medicine, buildings, clothing, transport, and communication services goes to boost Gross Domestic Product." All but one of the eleven countries involved in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami reported an increase to their Gross Domestic Product as a consequence of the record breaking financial aid. Monetary donations were not the only positive influence to come from the international community. The United States Geographical Survey, The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency worked together to create a broader warning system for tsunamis. Additional sensors, beacons, and satellite technology should result in more time for coastlines throughout the world to respond and evacuate. The improved infrastructure, including paved roads, stronger buildings, and engineered sea walls from the research done as a part of the worldwide response to the devastation, will hopefully prevent any future casualty counts equal to that of the Indian Ocean tsunami. On December 26, 2004, a 9.0 earthquake rattled the Indian Ocean causing the deadliest tsunami in recorded history. Time has passed and nature has been resiliently creating the plush tropical greenery and pure white sand beaches. Very little carnage is still visible to the rejuvenated travel business and the painful memories have faded from the natives. The agricultural and fishing workforce has rebounded to a more productive contributor to economic growth since the disaster. Survivors have seen the global response and influence has thought them to protect life and land, eliminating the extended fear that could have damaged the peaceful culture. The residents in turn have taught the rest of the world that through adversity the humble will endure. Overall the Indian Ocean tsunami was an event that taught the world how interdependent the developing countries are in the face of tragedy. The brutal force of nature gave the strongest of countries the opportunity to save lives, improve emergency response, rebuild dreams, and support the less fortunate. The selfless response from the global community and private enterprise showcased the best human spirit and revealed how cherished these eleven nations are to worldwide unity.
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The Indian Ocean Tsunami
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The Indian Ocean Tsunami

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              Imagine more than half of the population of Kenosha being over-taken by a deluge of water without warning or the ability to escape. On December 26, 2004, an earthquake measuring 9. 0 on the Richter scale, occurred in the Indian Ocean off of the Samaritan coast, triggering the deadliest tsunami in recorded history. Before the tsunami, this region of the world was one of the most sought after vacation spots. After the record-breaking destruction, the pristine beach front and inviting residents were forever changed. The regional damage was so massive that it demanded a response on a global scale for rescue, recovery, stability, and to rebuild this treasured place.
             
              Before the tsunami, this region of the world was one of the most sought after vacation spots. Beachside resorts, breathtaking scenery, and various recreational activities were major tourist attractions. The seemingly tranquil life of the natives and year round warm climate conditions created steady tourism and economic support. With more than thirteen thousand, five hundred different islands for tourists to explore, many visitors enjoyed repeat trips with unlimited experiences.
             
              Thailand, Indonesia, and Maldives were thriving developing countries from the economic support provided by the tourism industry. The white sand beaches and lush tropical greenery found on one island could be replaced with glorious mountains and waterfalls form a short boat ride to another island. Tourism flourished because of the many interesting physical characteristics of the area. According to the CIA World Fact Book, Thailand offered its many visitors peaceful democracy and a southern isthmus known to be always hot and humid (CIA World Fact Book). Maldives presented world-class coral reefs and atolls for exploration, while Indonesia gave its many travelers either luxurious five star island resorts or simpler ocean side huts to live like the natives. Indonesia's three distinct geographical areas, Sundah Shelf, Sahul Shelf, and forming volcanic region yielded different tourist attractions as well as agricultural exports.
             
              Agriculture provided the second largest percent of gross domestic product behind the leading tourism industry (CIA World Fact Book). The Sumatran region gave visitors a look at production and export of the most important regional exports. Coffee, tea, copra, palm oil, sisal, tobacco, sugar, cocoa, and other spices provided the world with treats and delicacies for both young and old. The National Geographic article on the tsunami stated that the agricultural success depended upon a fresh water supply, steady weather, healthy soil, and quick transport to the world for the perishable commodities (The Deadliest Tsunami in History? 2). A dedicated workforce to farm the land and transport the goods was especially critical for the smaller islands seeking to develop economically and socially.
             
              The people of the region were divided into many cultural groups as the number of islands. There were over two hundred and fifty different languages spoken in the area and very little communication, transport, or connection between the many other islands the natives occupied (Southwest 28). Over seventy four percent of the total population of Indonesia worked in agriculture and the remaining participated in tourism or fishing (Southwestern 29). The vast majority lived outside of the beachside resorts in rural areas without access to paved roads, electricity, indoor water, and basic communication services like a telephone or radio. This lack of infrastructure and rural living conditions contributed to the greater loss of life across the vast damage zone.
             
              The widespread path of the Indian Ocean tsunami was created by a single shift of the Earth's crust. The Indian plate moved under a section of Burma or Sunda plate over an area more than six hundred miles long causing the seafloor to be pushed up ten yards instantly (The Deadliest Tsunami in History? 1). The earthquake that resulted was one of the highest magnitudes to occur in the Indian Ocean. Waves radiated from the originating site and continued with every aftershock, drowning the region with several fifty-foot high walls of water. The first tsunami wave, and each surge after, took parts of the coastline and pushed it inland by as much as one thousand feet (The Deadliest Tsunami in History? 2). Equally destructive, was the power of the large waves contracting, taking the farmland, homes, boats, roads, whole resorts, towns, and bodies out into the expansive Indian Ocean to be lost. The dramatic changes to the landscape and human condition caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami have taken years to fully recover.
              The confirmed death toll one year after the Indian Ocean tsunami was two hundred and twenty thousand dead in eleven countries. The countries physically affected were Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Maldives, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. The majority of casualties were in the province Aceh on Sumatra, Indonesia. More than one hundred and thirty thousand people were still missing from Indonesia alone in December 2005 (Indian Ocean Tsunami 2).
             
              The initial large tsunami wave hit the Sumatran coastline first, because of the proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake. The fishermen had no warning of the pending catastrophe and could not seek shelter at the harbor because the 9. 0 earthquake had already destroyed that part of Indonesia. Most working fishermen lost their lives at sea and their families perished as well in the low-lying coastal huts they resided. A quick warning system to get to higher ground was not available to warn the fishermen and the earthquake deactivated the few sirens on the coastal plain to warn the families. The inadequate road access away from the ocean was an additional unforeseen impediment to escaping death at higher ground.
             
              Even though Indonesia recorded the greatest percentage of human casualties, of the eleven countries, the direct impact on their economic growth was minimized because of the location of the damage. The important exports such as tea, coffee, cocoa, and manufactured furniture were grown or manufactured on the opposite side of the devastation.
             
              The other nations within the tsunamis reach also had the loss of life along with unbelievable damage to over eight hundred kilometers of coastline as far inland as five miles. Over one hundred and fifty thousand children were left without schools; five hundred thousand people lost their homes and six hundred and fifty four villages were damaged or destroyed from both the earthquake and the tsunami that followed (Indian Ocean Tsunami 4).
             
              The earthquake shook the poorly built structures, collapsed roads, and toppled the developing infrastructure. The tsunami took the debris field either out to sea or used it to further level the minimal structures that were left standing. The scattered waste blocked warning, rescue, and aid efforts for an extended period of time, causing the injured to succumb to injuries over the days that followed. The salt water filtered into the human supply compromising the system and farmland was left unusable from the soaking salt-water waves. The physical toll on the land and the human casualties were both factors in the social and economic challenges that followed in the year after the disaster.
             
              The socio-economic effects of the tsunami have been recorded from numerous post studies and interviews of survivors. The main socio-economic impact across the region was on the vital tourism industry that employed up to ninety percent of the workforce in some countries. Immediately after the tsunami, reservations were canceled resulting in a drop in visitors to some resorts, by more than sixty percent (Indian Ocean Tsunami 113). More than one year later, the visitation rate was still off by up to twenty five percent from the previous year, in the minimally damaged resort towns.
             
              Fear, misinformation, and several smaller earthquakes in the year that followed, contributed to the lower visitation rate and suffering of the survivors. The tourism workforce, who was lucky enough to survive the earthquake and tsunami, were now facing unemployment because the resorts needed less staff to operate. The ability to find employment at the untouched resorts was further impeded by the lack of boat transportation between the many islands and a lack of cooperation between effected nations.
             
              The fishing industry had been a flourishing economic and social influence prior to the tsunami. The smallest island experienced a transformation of fishing for subsistence to fishing for export and profitability for the fisherman. Better housing, healthcare, and education were just within reach for these developing nations, when this catastrophe terminated the expansion.
              At the end of that fateful day, the most crippled areas witnessed the population of the fishermen shrink from thousands to low hundreds. Those that did not lose their lives still lost the ability to fish from the damage to their boats, moorings, or motors (Indian Ocean Tsunami: Langkawi, Malaysia 112). A large number of the fishermen and boats lost could not be actually recorded because the bodies and vessels were washed out to sea. Therefore, economic costs were as difficult to calculate as the loss of life.
             
              The ever-changing estimates on the physical and financial impact of the disaster, created a delay in aid from other countries around the world. The largest trading partners to Indonesia, the United States, Japan, and Singapore expressed an immediate desire to help in any way the region needed. The ravaged nation however, did not have the background to speculate how others could assist them though the tragedy.
             
              The more experienced, developed nations anticipated that food, medicine, construction equipment, shipping support, and military expertise would be needed to stabilize the land and structures to prevent further casualties from waterborne diseases, malnutrition, untreated injuries, rescue attempts, or the rebuilding efforts. Having skilled reinforcement and financial support meant quicker recovery for the region with minimal consequence to the Gross Domestic Product of the fragile developing nations.
             
              The eleven countries exposed to the tsunami were in a region of the world experiencing single digit Gross Domestic Product growth in 2004 and were forecast to continue at that rate. The projected aftermath of the disaster on the region was a negative economic fallout on the main contributors to the Gross Domestic Product. Specifically, the fishing industry was severely diminished, farming or agricultural production was significantly reduced and tourism was weakened to a minimal economic impact on the growth of these small countries.
              Without intervention, the people of the developing countries were destined to generations of physical suffering and economic turmoil. International aid from governments had been especially important to the smaller economies survival beyond the first year. As much as the tourism and fishing revenue had been undermined, the aid and reconstruction brought new revitalization to the impacted area. As stated in the article, The Economic Impact of the Asian Tsunami,
              "Because Gross Domestic Product measures all economic activity without considering whether that activity is overall positive or negative, than all the aid expenditures on food, water treatment, medicine, buildings, clothing, transport, and communication services goes to boost Gross Domestic Product. "
             
              All but one of the eleven countries involved in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami reported an increase to their Gross Domestic Product as a consequence of the record breaking financial aid. Monetary donations were not the only positive influence to come from the international community. The United States Geographical Survey, The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency worked together to create a broader warning system for tsunamis. Additional sensors, beacons, and satellite technology should result in more time for coastlines throughout the world to respond and evacuate. The improved infrastructure, including paved roads, stronger buildings, and engineered sea walls from the research done as a part of the worldwide response to the devastation, will hopefully prevent any future casualty counts equal to that of the Indian Ocean tsunami.
             
              On December 26, 2004, a 9. 0 earthquake rattled the Indian Ocean causing the deadliest tsunami in recorded history. Time has passed and nature has been resiliently creating the plush tropical greenery and pure white sand beaches. Very little carnage is still visible to the rejuvenated travel business and the painful memories have faded from the natives. The agricultural and fishing workforce has rebounded to a more productive contributor to economic growth since the disaster.
             
              Survivors have seen the global response and influence has thought them to protect life and land, eliminating the extended fear that could have damaged the peaceful culture. The residents in turn have taught the rest of the world that through adversity the humble will endure.
              Overall the Indian Ocean tsunami was an event that taught the world how interdependent the developing countries are in the face of tragedy. The brutal force of nature gave the strongest of countries the opportunity to save lives, improve emergency response, rebuild dreams, and support the less fortunate. The selfless response from the global community and private enterprise showcased the best human spirit and revealed how cherished these eleven nations are to worldwide unity.
Natural Disasters Essay 
"Asia." Volume Library: a Modern Authoritative References for Home and School Use. Vol. 2. Nashville, TN: Southwestern, 2004. 3. Print.
"Background on the Disaster." Indian Ocean Tsunami - An Overall View of One of the World's Largest Natural Disasters" 30 Nov. 2010. Web. 04 Dec. 2011.
"CIA - The World Factbook Indonesia." Central Intelligence Agency. Np, Jan. 2010. Web. 15 Jan. 2012.
"CIA - The World Factbook Maldives." Central Intelligence Agency. Np, Jan. 2011. Web. 15 Jan. 2012.
"CIA - The World Factbook Thailand." Central Intelligence Agency. Np, Jan. 2011. Web. 15 Jan. 2012.
Bird, Michael. "Environmental and Socio-economic Impacts." Sas.upenn.edu. The Geographical Journal, June 2007. Web. 22 Jan. 2012.
"Hidden Fault Amplified 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami" TopNnews.com. 25 Dec. 2005. Web. 03 Dec. 2011.
Jaffe, Bruce. "Indian Ocean Earthquake Triggers Deadly Tsunami." Dec.-Jan. 2004. Web. 03 Dec. 2011.
Posted, CaraMazzei. "Indian Ocean Tsunami a Hawaiian Post Script - CNN IReport."CNN IReport - Share Your Story, Discuss the Issues with CNN.com. 5 June 2011. Web. 03 Dec. 2011.
"India: Five Years After Tsunami: Life For Survivors Improves, Scientists Work To Upgrade Warnings." Thai Press Reports. Financial Times Ltd. 2009. AccessMyLibrary. 4 Dec. 2011
"Indian Ocean Tsunami." History.com. Web. 01 Dec. 2011.
"Indian Ocean Tsunami-December 26 2004." Web. 02 Dec. 2011.
"Indian Ocean Tsunami Death Toll Approaches Quarter Million." Spacedaily.com. 19 Jan. 2005. Web. 03 Dec. 2011.
"Indian Ocean Tsunami." Globaleducation.com. Jan. 2004. Web. 03 Dec. 2011.
"Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Britannica.com. Web. 03 Dec. 2011.
"Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System on Test Oct 12." Zeenews.com. 6 Oct. 2011. Web. 03 Dec. 2011.
"Physical Geography." Volume Library: a Modern Authoritative References for Home and School Use. Vol. 1. Nashville, TN: Southwestern, 2004. 72. Print.
Winfrey, Oprah. "Surviving the Tsunami." Oprah. ABC. Chicago, Illinois, 17 Jan. 2005. Television.
"SOS: Indian Tsunami." Sos.noaa.gov. Web. 03 Dec. 2011.
"The Economic Impact of the Asian Tsunami." CSR, Sustainability & Governance Consultants. Np, Nov. 2005. Web. 23 Jan. 2012.
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