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Latest OCHA Earthquake and Tsunami Report

India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and, Somalia Earthquake and Tsunami: OCHA Situation Report No. 4

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2004/192

OCHA Situation Report No. 4
Earthquake and Tsunami
India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and, Somalia.

A massive earthquake of magnitude 9.0 occurred off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra on 26 December 2004 at 0058 hours GMT. Another earthquake of magnitude 7.3 occurred 81 kms West of Pulo Kunji (Great Nicobar Islands) at 0421 GMT. These two earthquakes triggered Tsunami.A series of aftershock were reported in this region. Seven countries have reportedly been affected: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and, Somalia.


1. Situation: Tamil Nadu is the worst affected state of India with over 2,367 people killed as per the latest Government sources. Rescue efforts in Nagappattinam are hampering because helicopters are unable to land due to the rain.

At least 69 people were killed and 810 are missing after tidal waves wreaked havoc along the 1,000 km coastline of Andra Pradesh.

In Andaman and Nicobar islands, according to the media the death toll has climbed to more than 3,000. Official government figures are, however, significantly lower. The situation in Car Nicobar and the Nancowrie group of islands has not yet allowed rescue teams to reach these places. Authorities have launched a large-scale evacuation, relief and rescue operation by pressing air force helicopters into action.

In Kerala, the toll has risen to 131. The toll is likely to go up as rescue teams led by navy and police are continuing the search for bodies trapped in collapsed houses. An emergency meeting of the state cabinet on 27 December decided to provide INR 100,000 (USD 2,231) for each adult and INR 50,000 (USD 1,115.5) for each child killed in the tragedy. The cabinet reviewed the rehabilitation and relief measures as around 32,000 people were living in 115 camps opened in the affected areas. Chief Minister reported that teams of ministers had been deputed to oversee the relief activities in different districts.

2. National Response: The Union Home Minister visited Andhra Pradesh for an assessment of the situation. He is visiting Tamil Nadu on 27 December. The crisis Management Group met in Delhi on 26 December morning and drew-up an emergency plan to carry out relief and rescue operations in the affected regions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Andaman Nicobar Islands. Two central emergency medical relief teams have been deputed to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry. Para military forces and armed forces are already helping State governments in relief and rescue operations. The Andaman and Nicobar Administration has requested the Central Government for the following assistance: Two additional flights, one each from Kolkatta and Chennai, for evacuation of stranded tourists at Port Blair, essential commodities and clothings, 500 containers for transportation of water, 10,000 tents, 10 portable diesel pump sets of 3/5 HP capacity, 200 portable generator sets, 50 mobile satellite phones and 1,000 torches, augmentation of telecom facilities, including experts and equipments.The state governments have initiated search and rescue missions in these states and the respective Chief Ministers are personally supervising these missions. Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have already carried out aerial surveys. The Union Health Ministry has dispatched full medical teams to Chennai, Hyderabad, Pondicherry and Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar).


3. Situation: Affected areas in Indonesia are Aceh Province and North Sumatra Province. The tidal waves caused serious damage to public facilities, transportation facilities (roads and bridges) telecommunications, electricity, power etc. in both provinces with the worst affected area being Banda Aceh, the capital city of Aceh Province. The airport in Banda Aceh is now open for commercial flights. The latest information from the Department of Social Affairs on 27 December 2004 said that 4,712 people were killed, 303 people have been missing and some 50,000 people displaced due to the earthquake/tsunami. According to the Coordinating Minister of People’s Welfare Office, tents/shelter, kitchen utensils, food, baby food, medicines, clothes, blankets, women’s hygiene products, clean water and generators, are needed.

4. National Response: The President of Indonesia immediately declared a National Disaster. Action taken by the Department of Health (DoH) includes evacuation of victims, establishment of a 24-hours Health POSKO (Crisis Centre), provision of health services in local hospitals. The provincial health office of North Sumatra and a local hospital are ready to dispatch teams to Aceh. DoH will send 4 tons of medicine, 2 tons of MPASI (substitute food for lactated babies) and 150 body bags on 27 December by plane, which will also carry a government team led by Vice President. The Department of Social Affairs has buffer stocks available in Aceh, which includes 75 tonnes of rice, food items, and evacuation kits (live vests, generators, boats etc.). On 27 December, another 100 tonnes of rice, food items, clothing, kitchen utensils, and evacuation kits (tents) were delivered from North Sumatra to Aceh through land transportation. Indonesia Red Cross SATGANA volunteers (PMI Field Action Team) were deployed to carry out search and rescue and safe evacuation.

5. A UNDAC team is being deployed.


6. Situation: The scale and magnitude of the tsunamis in Malaysia are now confirmed to have been much less destructive than in neighbouring Asian countries. Current estimates are that 53 persons were killed, a further 34 are reported missing and scores more have suffered injuries. There has also been a fair amount of destruction of houses along the affected coastlines. The state of Penang suffered most (with 38 of the fatalities) followed by Kedah. Some affects were also experienced in Perlis and Perak.

7. National Response: Local disaster teams are in full control of the situation. The Deputy Prime Minister has been appointed Head of the National Disaster Team to help restore normality in affected areas.


8. Situation: According to Government estimates, two thirds of the population are affected. Government sources confirm 52 deaths; 73 reported missing and the capital’s hospitals received 160 injured people. About 100,000 are severely affected and have suffered considerable damage to dwellings. A preliminary estimate indicates that about 50% (25,000) of houses across the country have been affected. Life-line structures such as communication equipment, harbours, jetties, electricity, hospitals, sewerage systems and community buildings have been seriously damaged. Communication to islands is generally very difficult. Contacts with many islands and one entire atoll (Laamu) are still impossible. Transportation to most islands and logistics remain a major challenge. Government capacity to cope with the disaster is stretched to the limit.Lack of communication and transportation complicates damage assessment and makes it likely that numbers of fatalities, injuries and missing people will rise as more information is gathered. More than one thousand have been evacuated to Male’ and a number of other islands. More evacuations are probable. Invading sea water has destroyed water lenses in many islands and there is grave concern regarding the availability of water supplies on many others, largely dependent on ground water aquifers. On several islands, rainwater collection and storage tanks have been washed away.

9. National Response: The President declared a State of National Disaster and a State of Emergency, and appealed for international assistance. The President also established a Task Force on National Emergency to respond to the situation. The Government held an emergency meeting on 26 December and a Disaster Response and Mitigation Committee was established. Donations of food, water and clothing are listed as priorities, as are transport (sea and air) for rescue, recovery and evacuation. Preliminary assessment of relief requirements include: water, food, medical supplies, hygiene and sanitation, clothing (especially for children), mattresses and bed sheets, tents, portable generators, reconstruction support.

10. A UNDAC team has been deployed.


11. Situation: Scattered reports received now indicate a loss of at least 225 lives in Trincomalee and similar numbers in Batticaloa. No information has been received from Ampara and other districts on the east coast. Reports also indicate loss of lives in Galle district.

12. National Response: The President’s Office issued a media release declaring a state of disaster in the country in view of the seriousness of the situation, and requested international assistance. The Prime Minister and the senior members of the Administration were holding a meeting with international and donor representatives on 27 December 2004.

13. A UNDAC team has been deployed.


14. Situation: Most of the 400 km Western coastline, including numerous islands in the Andaman Sea has been devastated. The provinces of Ranong, Phang-Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun have been severely affected. Phuket was declared an emergency area. The Government’s initial are estimates that 431 people have died, over 5,000 have been injured, and tens of thousands are stranded. The government does not yet have estimates for the number of missing, the number of people without shelter or displaced. The structural damage is extensive along the beach areas and in some areas up to a kilometer inland. Some islands, including Phi Phi, were completely washed out. Besides the tourist sites that are getting the attention in the media, many poorer fishing villages have been completely destroyed by the tsunami. Transport, electricity and telephone lines are severely damaged. Mobile phone communication is sporadic. Hundreds of boats have sunk, others washed up on the shores.

15. National Response: The entire government and military apparatus is now mobilized in a massive emergency response operation. Priority is currently given to search and rescue operations, trying to locate and evacuate thousands of people (especially foreign tourists) stranded on small islands and remote beaches. Priority is also given to care for the thousands of injured, and the identification and repatriation of bodies. The Government has set up crisis centres in Phuket as well as Pangnga, Ranong and Krabi, primarily dealing with tens of thousands of foreign tourists needing to be repatriated/evacuated. The Government also asked for the UN to coordinate the relief efforts and the international support. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up a Ad Hoc Task Force on Tidal Wave Disaster to coordinate foreign assistance, and appointed a Humanitarian Relief Coordinator. Items needed are: search and rescue (especially helicopters, personnel and experts), forensic medical teams, medical supplies, formalin, body bags.

16. A UNDAC team is being deployed.


17. The OCHA Office for Somalia in Nairobi reported that the Somalia government appealed for international relief after the tidal waves hit the country. It has been reported that hundreds of Somalis died in the central and northeastern coastal area, and many coastal villages and towns have been destroyed or submerged by the tidal waves.


18. OCHA is prepared to serve as a channel for unearmarked cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. For banking details, please contact the desk officers indicated below. OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

19. Updates on contributions to this disaster may be found by clicking on Financial Tracking at the top of the page for this disaster on the OCHA Internet Website ( Donors are requested to verify this table and inform OCHA Geneva of corrections/additions/values. Donors are encouraged to notify OCHA Geneva of their contributions to this disaster using the OCHA Standardized Contributions Recording Format, available electronically in the above-mentioned Financial Tracking Website.

20. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA-Geneva Desk Officers, as indicated below, of bilateral relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding value by item.

21. Together with further information on other ongoing emergencies, this situation report is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

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