Tsunamis claim hundreds of thousands over past century


Over a quarter-million people have been killed in tsunamis over the past century, according to the data compiled by Anadolu Agency.

According to the UN, which marks Nov. 5 as the World Tsunami Awareness Day, dozens of tsunamis — Often triggered by submarine earth slides and volcanic eruptions — have occurred in the past 100 years, killing hundreds of thousands.

In 2004, the western Indonesian coastline was devastated by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake and tsunami towering nine meters (29.5 feet). The tsunami was triggered by an earthquake that hit 14 countries, claiming 230,000 lives and causing damages of $10 billion.

In 2011, a 9-magnitude earthquake occurred 29 kilometers (18 miles) below the Pacific Ocean, causing tidal waves towering 10 meters (33 feet) that pounded eastern Japanese shores. Over 16,000 people were killed in the Toohoku region and about half a million others were forced to take shelter.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered damage and radioactive steam leaked into the air after another massive wave the same year. Total damage is estimated to be over $300 billion in Japan.

Earthquake-prone countries and regions such as Japan and Chile have always been under threat of tidal waves throughout the course of time.

For instance, the 7.6-magnitude earthquake of 1896 in Japan triggered a tsunami reaching 38 meters (125 feet) in length and killed 22,000.

In 1868, about 25,000 people were killed in Chile after it suffered a deadly 8.5-magnitude earthquake in the country’s north.

The Krakatoa volcanic eruption of 1883 in Indonesia led to the death of 40,000 people due to tidal waves towering 37 meters (121 feet).

Historical records suggest that tens of thousands of people were killed in Japan due to tsunamis in 1771, 1707, 1586 and 1498 whereas Portugal had its share in 1755.

Risk in Turkey

Located on the North Anatolian Fault, Turkey is another tremor-prone country which has lost many to earthquakes.

In a conference on disasters in 2018, geologist Sukru Ersoy said about 125 tsunamis occurred in Turkey over the course of the past 3,000 years.

Pits in the Sea of Marmara, located in Turkey’s northwest, have formed over a kilometer (3281 feet) deep, he said, adding that these had the potential of triggering tidal waves in the event of a 6.5-magnitude earthquake.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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