6th Lead (Adds details, background, Map)

At least 500 feared killed by Tsunami waves in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 December 2004, 04:12 GMT]
At least five hundred people are feared killed as fierce waves from the sea hit Sri Lanka' eastern and southern coasts Sunday morning. Initial reports from the east said that many coastal villages of the Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai districts were hit by powerful tidal waves causing extensive destruction as thousands of homes were covered by rising sea waters. Around 25 villages are reported to have been swept off by the tidal waves of the Tsunami.

Thousands of homes were covered by rising sea waters and hundreds are feared killed as fierce waves from the sea hit Sri Lanka' eastern and southern coasts Saturday morning.

120 bodies are already brought to Batticaloa Hospital and 100 more bodies are reportedly being brought to the Batticaloa Hospital, sources said. Around 150 are feared killed in Trincomalee district, around 50 bodies are brought to Kilinochchi Hospital, 25 people are killed in Vadamaradchi in Jaffna district and around 20 people are dead in Panadura in South.

Colombo harbour is closed and Sri Lanka is placed on alert fearing another tidal wave. An urgent cabinet meeting is called by Sri Lanka's Prime Minister and Sri Lanka is considering to request urgent external assistance, sources said.

Mr. Sooriyakumar from Batticaloa Weather Centre said that the height of the tidal was reported as high as 30 feet. The centre has alerted the public in coastal and adjoining areas to vacate to higher locations as they fear another tidal wave.

Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) sources said that the coastal belt from Batticaloa to Matara is severely affected and that SLN is organizing to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to affected people who have sought shelter in high lands.

Kinniya hospital with at least 28 patients is also submerged. There is acute shortage of medicine in Trincomale hospital. At least 120 people are feared dead in Mutur villages alone.

Reports from Batticaloa said that Paikudah, Kalkudah, Kallady, Thalankudah, Kurukkalmadam, Koddaikallar, Kallr, Maruthamunai, Karaithivu, Oluvil and Akkaraipattu were hit by tidal waves, causing destruction and loss of lives, residents said.

Kottaikallar bridge is completeley submerged.

The sudden rise in sea-level along the coastal areas in Sri Lanka, a phenomenon known as tsunami, has created a major catastrophe including loss of lives and property. Trincomalee town is submerged under 6 feet of sea water and bodies of several residents of coastal towns in Batticaloa district are seen floating, according to latest reports.

Telephone lines were either knocked out or were congested as relatives and aid workers attempted to make contact or assess the destruction.

Several coastal parts of the Batticaloa town have been swept by massive tidal waves. Most parts of Batticaloa town, including the market area, were submerged under three to four feet of water, residents said.

Bodies of people killed by the Tsunami waves in the coastal parts of Batticaloa town are being brought to the Batticaloa hospital, sources said. Kattankudy, a large Muslim town five kilometres south of Batticaloa town, was flooded by nine feet of sea water from the Tsunami tidal waves from 8 a.m. Saturday.

Residents of Kattankudy said that at leat 122 people were wounded and 12 bodies of people killed by the waves were recovered.

Map of Sri Lanka's East
(Click on the map to view a larger version)
Reports also say that most of the coastal towns across Sri Lanka including Thalaiyadi in the North and some villages south of Colombo are also inundated with sea-water entering mainland. Details of damages to these areas are not yet known.

Sources from Colombo said that water levels in affected coastal towns near Colombo are receding and that life is returning back to normal in Colombo.

Telephone lines to towns in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai districts are completely cutoff, and only satellite-based communication is available to these areas.

Tsunami Map BBC
(Photo: BBC - Click on the map to view a larger version)
Experts at the U.S Geological Survey said that 8.5 Richter scale earth quake that hit Indonesian islands of Sumatra recently was the cause of the temporary rise in the sea-level around the island of Sri Lanka.

The phenomenon, tsunami, is a series of waves of extremely long wave length and long period generated in a body of water by an impulsive disturbance that displaces the water. Tsunamis are primarily associated with earthquakes in oceanic and coastal regions. Landslides, volcanic eruptions, nuclear explosions, and even impacts of objects from outer space (such as meteorites, asteroids, and comets) can also generate tsunamis.

As the tsunami crosses the deep ocean, its length from crest to crest may be a hundred miles or more, and its height from crest to trough will only be a few feet or less. They can not be felt aboard ships nor can they be seen from the air in the open ocean. In the deepest oceans, the waves will reach speeds exceeding 600 miles per hour (970 km/hr). When the tsunami enters the shoaling water of coastlines in its path, the velocity of its waves diminishes and the wave height increases. It is in these shallow waters that a large tsunami can crest to heights exceeding 100 feet (30 m) and strike with devastating force.

Tsunami is a Japanese word with the English translation, "harbor wave." In the past, tsunamis were sometimes referred to as "tidal waves" by the general public, and as "seismic sea waves" by the scientific community. The term "tidal wave" is a misnomer; although a tsunami's impact upon a coastline is dependent upon the tidal level at the time a tsunami strikes, tsunamis are unrelated to the tides. Tides result from the imbalanced, extraterrestrial, gravitational influences of the moon, sun, and planets. The term "seismic sea wave" is also misleading. "Seismic" implies an earthquake-related generation mechanism, but a tsunami can also be caused by a nonseismic event, such as a landslide or meteorite impact.


External Links:
WashingtonU: The Physics of Tsunami

 

Latest 15 Reports
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=13711