Thursday, December 30, 2004

The worst natural disaster within my lifetime

The Sumatra earthquake and subsequent Tsunami are, by far, the worst natural disaster of my almost 60 years on this planet.

The death and immediate destruction (currently, 125,000 dead but that's expected to double in the weeks to come) are bad enough and would be terrible if they were the result of a major earthquake in, say, China, Japan or Mexico. But so many people were affected in so many countries from Somalia to Indonesia. Some islands and provinces will see 90% or more of their populations wiped out.

It's reported that over 1000 Swedes perished in the tidal wave!

The fate of tens of thousands may never be known. Tourists, in particular, won't be known because hotel registers were wiped out and destroyed. Unless friends and relatives back home were aware of their destination, they may simply be marked as "missing." Indeed, some people make take advantage of this to actually go missing - and start a new life.

But, on top of all that, the earthquake affected the earth's rotation! Our days are now 3 milliseconds shorter. It may not seem like much, but over time it adds up and will affect us in more ways than we can imagine. Hopefully it can put a lot of our petty squabbles into perspective.

Comments:
Since you are almost 60 years old, your lifetime includes 1976 when the Chinese earthquaked kill 225,000 people and the November 1970 Bangladesh cyclone which killed 300,000 to 500,000.

Last year's tsunami was bad, but certainly not the worst natural disaster in your lifetime!
 
The impact of a disaster is measured in more than the immediate death toll. The extent of the disaster, the monetary damages, the dead, injured, displaced and more. I'll stand by my remark that this is the worst.
 
The impact of a disaster is measured in more than the immediate death toll. The extent of the disaster, the monetary damages, the dead, injured, displaced and more. I'll stand by my remark that this is the worst.
 
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