The Indian Ocean Tsunami: The Global Response to a Natural Disaster

By Pradyumna P. Karan; Shanmugam P. Subbiah | Go to book overview

1
The Tsunami Disaster on the
Andaman Sea Coast of Thailand

Masatomo Umitsu

The giant earthquake off Sumatra Island caused serious damage by tsunami along the Andaman Sea coast of southern Thailand. Narrow coastal plains are developing in a north-south direction along the Andaman Sea coast in Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, and Satun provinces (see fig. 1.1). The tsunami flow spread over most parts of the coastal lowlands. Tsunami inundation height on the plains was about 3–5 m (11.5 feet) in general, and it exceeded more than 10 m (33 feet) in some places. Many famous resort beaches are located in the region, and most of them suffered from the tsunami disaster.

According to the Interior Department of Thailand, on January 20, 2005, 5,354 people in Thailand had been killed by the tsunami, and 3,113 were missing. The numbers of dead and missing persons in Phang Nga, Phuket, and Krabi provinces were 4,202 and 1,792, 260 and 646, and 721 and 663, respectively. There were also some damages in Ranong. Dead and missing persons in Ranong province were 160 and 11, respectively. In Trang and Satun provinces, located in the southern part of the Andaman Sea coast, however, there were very few casualties and missing persons and only very little physical damage. The reason is that these areas are located behind the Sumatra Island, away from the epicenter of the earthquake.


Tsunami Disaster on Phuket Island and Phi Phi Island

Phuket Island is located in the central part of the Andaman Sea coast of Thailand. The island is about 50 km (30 miles) long and 15–20 km (9–12 miles) wide. There is a narrow strait with a bridge connecting the island with the

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