APAC—Top 10 Stories of Decade

By: The Diplomat

4. Indian Ocean Earthquake and TsunamiDecember 26, 2004

image: Chuck Simmins

The earthquake that struck on Boxing Day off the west coast of Sumatra was the second-largest ever recorded on a seismograph, with an estimated magnitude of 9.3. The tsunami it triggered was easily the deadliest natural disaster of the decade, and one of the most devastating in history, with nearly 230,000 people killed across eleven countries. The human, economic and environmental impact will be felt for decades to come. The disaster prompted a massive humanitarian response from the public and private sectors, with the world providing more than US$7 billion in aid to the affected regions, led by a US$760 million aid package from Australia to Indonesia. With scientists predicting devastating climate-related events in the decades to come, the tsunami was a reminder–if ever one was needed–that nature reserves the final word for itself.

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