Fifteen years later, it still haunts. The 2004 tsunami saw the tragic end of several lives, including ones that didn't get to reach their full bloom. The killer waves hit around 14 countries on December 26, 2004. The northern tip of Sumatra was among the areas devastated by the giant waves following an earthquake in the Indian Ocean. The earthquake measured up to 9.1 magnitude, one of the deadliest to happen in history.
The third deadliest earthquake lasted for as long as 10 minutes causing the earth to vibrate up to one centimetre. Soon after the earthquake, Sumatra and the Nicobar Islands were the first to be hit by the tsunami. The waves travelled to the Indonesian province of Aceh, with the height of the waves measuring up to 30 meters. Two hours after the earthquake, the sea waves travelled to Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. The lasting effects were seen as far as Antarctica and North America.
The silence after the deadly waves
The peace and sun in the tropical islands were soon clouded in misery when the waves struck the southern region of Asia. The Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova clung on to a tree for eight hours as the water rose and took everything in its path. She suffered a shattered hip and various other internal injuries. She lost her beloved boyfriend Simon Atlee, a British photographer, as the waves hit Thailand.
Nemcova told The New York Daily News from the hospital about her experience as the waves hit the country's coast. She talked about the silence right after the waves washed away people from the beach. It was declared a national tragedy by the then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The supermodel returned to Thailand in 2018, searching for the heroes who saved her during the tsunami. With the help of Thai filmmaker Pokchonn Dissayabutra, she was in search of the baby who was born during the disaster, a true miracle and several Thai men who helped her to get to safety.
Atlee was separated from Nemcova when the tidal waves hit their vacation. That was the last time she saw her husband-to-be before, the corpse was discovered several weeks later. The experience changed Nemcova. She from the woman she was before to the philanthropist she is today, who believes in helping others. Happy Hearts Fund, founded by Nemcova in 2008, helps disaster struck regions to rebuild themselves. She married French-Venezuelan entrepreneur Benjamin Larretche in 2019 and gave birth to her first child in November this year.
Loses were all the same, for the rich and the poor
The rich and the poor alike were left devastated by the tsunami. British actor and film director Richard Attenborough was one of the victims, losing his granddaughter when nature struck. The film director lost his daughter, granddaughter, and his daughter's mother-in-law during the disaster. He carried the grief of the family tragedy till his last breath in 2014. The man who has not cried while accepting his Oscars or his BAFTA, couldn't think of his beloved family without crying when he gave an interview to the Telegraph.
Jet Li was in the Maldives when the undersea earthquake sent waves his way. He sustained minor injuries when the waves struck the hotel he was staying in. Li grabbed his daughter when the hotel started to flood and escaped with injuries to his leg. In an article with Newsweek, he explained the true emotions behind starting a foundation called One Foundation with the simple concept of helping people.
There were several Italian football stars holidaying in the Maldives when the tragedy struck but they were reported to be safe Gazzetta dello Sport.
Cricketer and spin king Muttiah Muralidharan said he felt lucky to be alive. Around 17,000 people were reported to have died in the catastrophe in his home country. He drove out of the southern city of Galle just a few minutes prior to the waves reaching Sri Lanka. The cricketer participated in the rescue and other operations to help the fishermen from the country. He visited Humbantota with other cricketers to help the people. With the help of the cricketing stars of Sri Lanka the 'Foundation of Goodness' was able to help several people who were struck by the disaster.
In Thailand, a retired German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was able to move away from the sea as a helicopter picked him up from a guesthouse Talpe a region in Galle which was one of the worst-hit regions in Sri Lanka. He passed away as a remembered statesman who played a pivotal role in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of the Euro.
The terrifying waves rolled back before it rose to cause widespread havoc in several nations. Around 230,000 people died in the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. Even 15 years after the disaster the tragedy provides a deeper glimpse of nature's fury.