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17 September 2014
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Tsunami: Anatomy of a Disaster

Satellite views of Banda Aceh before and after the tsunami. photos: DigitalGlobe
On Boxing Day 2004 the world witnessed the terrible power of the Indian Ocean tsunami. A new BBC One programme, featuring the harrowing stories of survivors, gives a scientific account of the disaster.

These satellite images show Banda Aceh, Indonesia, before and after the destructive waves hit. (photos: DigitalGlobe)

Read the programme summary

Is it safe to travel?

Your holiday may help tsunami survivors because it supports their local economy. However, the situation in some areas may still be too fragile to handle foreign travellers. You should always find out about your destination before you go and consider the negative impacts your trip may have on the local population.

The following websites have advice for travellers:

Find out more about the relief effort

BBC News reports that the Disasters Emergency Committee, an organisation which coordinates the UK response to major overseas disasters, has closed its tsunami appeal, having raised £300m.

The websites listed below describe the relief effort in regions mentioned in the programme.


  • Hi Phi Phi has photos and articles about the aid effort on Phi Phi island.

Sri Lanka


 TV Programmes - BBC One

Tsunami: Anatomy of a Disaster
First shown March 2005

 Elsewhere on

News of the tsunami covers the disaster.

The science of tsunamis
Some killer waves tower 30m above sea level.

Horizon: Mega-tsunami
Massive landslides can cause devastating tsunamis.

 Elsewhere on the web

Views of the disaster
Before and after photographs from space show the damage.

Interactive tsunami map
California tsunami researchers chronicle the disaster.

Sumatra earthquake facts
The US Geological Survey says a 9.0 magnitude quake triggered the wave.

Tsunami warning system
UNESCO plans an Indian Ocean tsunami warning system.

Measuring the wave
US researchers determined the height of the wave using satellites.

Indian Ocean tsunami report
The Institution of Structural Engineers reports that the earthquake lifted the seabed by up to 5m.

Multi-national expert survey of Sri Lanka
The Sri Lanka tsunami may have been more than 10m high in places.

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