The impact of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami was of an extreme level, much higher than if certain measures were taken.
All of the affected areas were taken by surprise, and they had no preparation whatsoever, and no one was evacuated. Some other human factors also played a part, like the magnification of the wave due to the destruction of coral reefs.
The mean reason that the Boxing Day tsunami had such a great impact was because everyone who was affected was caught by surprise. None of the victims had any idea that a massive wave that contained more energy than nuclear weapons was heading toward them, to destroy their property, their land and possibly take their lives. This was because of an absence of warning system in the Indian Ocean. This is mainly due to the fact that the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, and the countries that are likely to be affected by an underwater-earthquake in that ocean are quite poor and are of a third world status. They do not have the funding to take the costly measures of preparing an entire warning system in the Indian Ocean. If there was a warning system to warn the countries of an upcoming tsunami, then preparations could have been made, and people evacuated. Some of the most affected areas were hit hours after the earthquake, with much time for damage-mitigating preparations. Therefore the lack of a warning system and the fact that the majority of the victims were caught by surprise increased the impact of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.
The destruction of the natural marine environment and certain other factors also magnified the force in which the wave hit. The destruction of coral reefs around cities was to make way for shrimp farms, or other more economical choices. This removed a natural barrier against the wave, and therefore increased the size of the wave. Other coral reefs were also destroyed as they posed an inconvenience and a danger to ships and the shipping industry, which is a large part of many southern-Asian economies. A certain island, for example, was saved from the force of the main wave because of a coral reef that protected it. Sand dunes along the coast of some areas were also removed, taking away a potential barrier. This also goes for trees that were removed from the coast also. All this human-destruction of the environment all contributed to increasing the impact of the disaster.
The fact that the affected countries were also third world countries also increased the impact. Not only was there an absence of a warning system, but the infrastructures of the damage hotspots was not suited to survive tsunamis. There was no preparation, as many regarded that there was a zero-risk of a tsunami happening. This was because there were no previous cases of such an earthquake in history, even though there were evident signs.
All the buildings were made of weak materials that easily got destroyed by the wave. The high densities of such cities also increased impacts, with more deaths and more homes destroyed. Therefore the design/infrastructure of such cities further increased the impact.
The timing of the Boxing Day tsunami was also another important factor that played a part in increasing the impact that the wave had. As the name of the tsunami suggests, it happened on Boxing Day. This is one day after Christmas; so many people were not alert that day. This meant that people had little time to react to the incoming waves when they were heard. Also, at this time, many different countries, particularly Sweden and Germany, who had many of their citizens, around 500 who were killed in the Boxing Day Tsunami, as these people were touring in the affected countries. This time is popular for tourism and holidays, and such increased the death toll of tourists who lived in other countries. It also really affected the tourism industry because of this timing. This is because there is still much of the industry peak to go, and many places were hit with cancellations due to general public fear.
Therefore the Boxing Day tsunami’s impact was greatly increased due to many factors. There was an absence of a warning system, so the majority were caught by surprise. The destruction of the natural marine environment also increased the magnitude of the wave, so more damage was caused and more lives were lost. Also, the timing of the tsunami had an impact, as more people were evident to be victims, and people were less prepared because of this. The fact that the countries were also third world increased the impact. Therefore the tsunami was greatly increased in damage because of numerous factors.