How high is the risk of Tsunamis in Thailand?
You are a responsible traveller, since before starting your trip you have decided to learn about the safety of a place you are going to visit. Regardless the fact that Thailand is considered to be one of the safest countries in the South-East Asia in terms of crime, you should not forget that this country is located between two large oceans, which make one of the biggest dangers that are out of control of a human...
You are a responsible traveller, since before starting your trip you have decided to learn about the safety of a place you are going to visit. Regardless the fact that Thailand is considered to be one of the safest countries in the South-East Asia in terms of crime, you should not forget that this country is located between two large oceans, which make one of the biggest dangers that are out of control of a human.
Tsunami in Thailand in 2004
Probably you have heard about it – the Tsunami, which started at the bottom of the Indian ocean due to the earthquake, and has hit the shore of Thailand, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and 10 other countries on December 26, 2004, taking away the lives of around 300.000 people. This was one of the most mortal events in the history of humanity. The most horrible consequences could be seen in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, whilst in Thailand, especially on Phuket, was the highest number of foreigners who died. We hope that such a natural cataclysm never repeats again, but we should warn our clients, as knowledge is the best weapons. Many human deaths could be avoided if people knew how to recognize it and how to behave during a tsunami.
Where does tsunami come from?
Tsunami are long waves, formed primarily due to underwater earthquakes, eruptions of volcanoes, rockslides, meteor falls, or even because of a human factor (underwater testing of weapons). Besides its destructive power, tsunamis are not dangerous for ships navigating in deep ocean areas. The speed of tsunamis can reach 1.000 km/h, however, the height of its waves in the open ocean is not more than 50cm – 1m. Reaching the land, tsunami loses its speed, but reaches the height of 20 to 40 meters. Because of such peculiarities, it’s hard to monitor tsunamis – they can hardly be seen from space before they reach the shore. In some cases, tsunami arrives without a distinct high wave, but as a sequence of short tidal waves. Tsunami is dangerous first of all not for the high wave itself, but for the wide and powerful flow of water, which hits the shore with a great force.
Did you know that 40 m high waves are safer than a 5 m high tsunami?
Sometimes the waves on the ocean shore can reach real big sizes, but they are not as destructive as a tsunami.
Scientists explain it with the following factors:
- Unlike the storm, when only the upper layers of the ocean hit the shore, a tsunami attacks the land with all the mass of water, thus, the dynamic energy of a tsunami is a thousand times higher than the energy of a normal storm wave.
- The length of a tsunami wave reaches thousands of kilometers, and it hits the whole shore, whereas storm waves rarely exceed the width of 50-100m.
- Tsunami spreads in a radial way, and the length of a circle is very big, thus, the area damaged by tsunami is vast.
- Storm can be easily predicted, whereas tsunamis can start rapidly. The modern technology for predicting it is far from being flawless. The systems for prediction and alerts are also costly, thus, not many coasts are equipped with them.
- Due to its power, tsunami reaches deep inside the land, destructing the infrastructure that is not protected against tsunami waves, which in its turn provokes technologic disasters, increasing the amount of victims and damages.
How to survive in a tsunami
In most cases, a tsunami is caused with a powerful earthquake, however, its epicenter may be located very far, and the pushes may not be felt at the earth. In case of the earthquake in a potentially dangerous area, you need not to wait for any warnings (there might be no warnings at all). You need to pack your documents and valuables and to leave the dangerous area as fast as possible, having warned other people about the danger. After this, you need to move up some hill or as far from the ocean as possible. In many areas there are special signs, showing where to go in a case of a tsunami. You might need to study them before the emergency situation arrives.
Tips to remember
- Remember that strong and sudden low tide is the evident sign that the tsunami is approaching. Before the strong hit, a tsunami takes a big mass of water near the shore. The tsunami of the 2004 has shown that many people who were at the beaches, ignore this sign, and start making photos and collecting fishes, which failed to leave the shore with a rapid low tide.
- Remember that tsunami hits with series of waves, and the first wave is not necessarily the strongest. If one wave has already hit the shore, you need to stay as far as possible for at least a few more hours.
- Not all earthquakes cause tsunamis, although, it’s better to be over-attentive, than to be in a trouble.
Why are we telling about these old tsunamis? Because unfortunately, safety measures in many countries are still at a very low level, and in general the population is very poorly informed. Most probably, no one will provide you with any useful information about this disaster, neither before the travel, nor while being in Thailand. Most likely, even the locals won’t know how to behave during tsunamis, what to tell about the tourists?
After 2004 the government implemented alert systems, which did not even exist before! We truly hope, that the next time when it happens, people will be ready for this event. It doesn’t mean you should not go to Thailand – this is a wonderful country worth visiting. It means that cataclysms happen all around the planet, and we just ask you to be attentive, so that in a right moment you can save your life and lives of others.
If you are very scared with the possibility of a tsunami, you can choose safer resorts in the East of Thailand – the East coast is safely protected from tsunamis with neighboring islands and lands.
Be careful and have a nice travel!