Monday, June 21, 2010

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

Immediately following the 2004 Tsunami, the world was so rocked with the staggering death toll of nearly 240,000 individuals that it is often forgotten that many of the more rural and traditional citizens were able to survive through an indigenous understanding of the signs of an incoming tsunami. For example, scientists in the area initially were convinced that the aboriginal population of the Andaman Islands would be significantly ravaged by the tsunami, however, all but one of the tribes in the islands (oddly enough, the one that had largely converted to Christianity and thus, a change of lifestyle,) suffered only minor casualties. When questioned, the tribesmen explained to the scientists that the land and ocean often fought over boundaries and when the earth shook they knew that the sea would soon enter the land until the two could realign their borders. Because of this, the villagers fled to the hills and suffered little or no casualties. Additionally of note is the story of Tilly Smith, a 10-year-old British student vacationing on Mikakhao Beach in Thailand. Tilly, had recently studied tsunamis in school and immediately recognized the frothing bubbles and receding ocean as a harbinger of a tsunami. Along with her parents, they warned the beach and it was entirely evacuated safely.

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