What Are the Effects of a Tsunami?

Updated on June 6, 2018

The effects of a tsunami are devastating. They are one of the world's worst natural disasters that can hit a country.

Tsunami damage is first caused by the immense force of the tidal wave hitting the shoreline. Tsunami flooding then continues to cause damage for several more weeks.

The effects of the tsunami on the country during this period range from destruction and damage, death, injury, millions of dollars in financial loss, and long lasting psychological problems for the inhabitants of the region.

The initial impact of the tsunami is often publicised across the world through the news media. However, the actual effects continue for many years after the natural disaster strikes.

For many of the people affected, they will never forget the terrifying ordeal of being caught in a tsunami. The scars that are inflicted on the land can be present for decades to come, and this only serves as a reminder to people living in the area of the terrible losses caused by the tsunami, and the lingering danger that yet another killer tidal wave could strike at any moment with very little warning.

Tsunami: Tidal wave hits the shore
Tsunami: Tidal wave hits the shore

Tsunami Damage and Destruction

A tsunami's tidal waves batter the shoreline and can destroy anything in their path.

This includes boats, buildings, houses, hotels, cars, trees, telephone lines - and just about anything else in their way.

Once the waves have knocked down infrastructure on the shore the waves continue inland for many more miles - obliterating yet more buildings and homes. As the water rushes across the land it can sweep away yet more trees, gardens, garages, cars and other man made equipment.

Boats have often been hurled into the sky and iron parking metres have been bent to the ground, demonstrating the sheer power of the water.

Tsunamis often hit poorer and less-developed countries around South Asia that are close to the ''ring of fire'' in the pacific ocean - a area with high seismic activity.

Because these countries are poor their buildings are not built strongly to withstand natural disasters such as Tsunamis.

This means that when the water hits the buildings they are easily washed away.

The water leaves a trail of destruction that looks like an enormous bomb has exploded in the area. Entire towns and villages are often destroyed in minutes.

To get an idea of just how powerful a tsunami can be, take a look at the pictures below of the Thai navy boat 813. The vessel was moored one nautical mile off the coast of Khao Lak, Phang Nga province in Thailand when the tsunami struck on December 26, 2004. The large metal boat - strongly built - was flung around like a toy. The water carried the boat 2km inland through buildings and tress, before dropping it down on a patch of land. Some 4,500 people were killed in Khao Lak, a small area in the south of Thailand on the east coast. The Navy boat was left in its resting place and a memorial has been built around it.

Read more about how Khao Lak was destroyed by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

The Thai Navy boat 813 in its final resting place after being flung 2km inland by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004
The Thai Navy boat 813 in its final resting place after being flung 2km inland by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 | Source


There is very little warning before Tsunamis hit. This means that people living in towns and villages on the coast do not have time to escape.

Unfortunately one of the biggests and worst effects of a Tsunami is the cost to human life. Hundreds and thousands of people are killed by Tsunamis.

The force of the tsunami wave may kill people instantly or they may drown as water rushes on the land.

People may also be killed if a building is knocked down by the tsunami and it hits them. They can also be electrocuted if wires fall down into the water or they may be killed by fires or explosions.

The tsunami that struck South Asia and East African on Decmber 24 2004 killed a staggering 31,187 people in Sri Lanka. There were 4,280 missing people and a further 23,189 were injured.

Destruction: Homes are destroyed by the tsunami
Destruction: Homes are destroyed by the tsunami
Chaos: Palm trees on the coast are battered by the water
Chaos: Palm trees on the coast are battered by the water


Tsunamis flood the areas closest to the coast. This can cause disease to spread in the stagnant water.

Illnesses such as malaria form when water is stagnant and contaminated. This can cause more deeath and sickness.

Disease can also spread from the dead bodies that begin to rot on the ground once the water has subsided. This was the case in Indonesia in 2004. In fact, one BBC security guard actually burned the corpse of a baby because it had become infested with maggots and the risk of disease spreading caused a risk to the television crew.

Often the infastructure such as sewage and fresh water supplies for drinking are damaged from the tsunami. This makes it more difficult for people to stay healthy and for diseases to be treated. In these conditions for diseases are likely to spread.

Desperate: A child hit by the tsunami in India is carried away
Desperate: A child hit by the tsunami in India is carried away


There is immediately a massive cost when tsunamis happen. Rescue teams come in to the area and victims of the tsunami need to be treated.

Governments around the world may help with the cost of bringing aid to a tsunami-hit area. There might also be appeals and donations from people who have seen pictures of the area in the media.

After the initial cost of rescue operations there is the clean up cost. Debris from the destruction caused by the tsunami needs to be cleaned away. Damaged buildings that are no longer structurally safe may need to be knocked down.

There is also the cost that comes from loss of earnings in the local economy and also future losses as the area will be damaged for some time.

The total financial cost of the tsunami could be millions or even billions of dollars. It is difficult to put an excat figure on the monetary cost but is a lot.

Help: Rescue teams carry away a man injured by a tsunami
Help: Rescue teams carry away a man injured by a tsunami
Sretcher: A woman who was caught in the wave is carried to safety
Sretcher: A woman who was caught in the wave is carried to safety

Psychological Effects

Tsunami victims suffer psychology problems in the days and weeks after the destruction. This could even continue for years - often their entire lifetime.

A study by the World Health Organisation on survivors of the tsunami in Sri Lanka on December 24 2004 found that three to four weeks after the tsunami between 14 and 39 per cent of the children had post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In another study, 41 per cent of adolescents and approximately 20 per cent of those adolescents' mothers had PTSD four months after the event.

Many people from the Peraliya area of Sri Lanka where 2,000 people died and 450 families became homeless had problems up to two years after the tsunami.

They were anxious and stressed because they felt like their life was in danger from another tsunami. They were also suffering from grief because they knew somebody who had died.

There were also people who were depressed because they had lost their home, their money or their business in the tsunami. Many still have PTSD.

Questions & Answers

    © 2010 Rickrideshorses


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Asmi 32 hours ago

        It's very nice.It helped me.

      • profile image

        Aakriti Jha 4 days ago

        It was awesome.I like this post very much.It is very helpful the students ,or for the people who want to know about Tsunami.bravo!!!!!!

      • profile image

        Rishi Raj 5 days ago

        thanku so much sir this helps me in making my sst project

      • profile image

        Vikas Singh Thakur 6 days ago

        It helpful to my project

      • profile image

        Sakshi 7 days ago

        Very nice article sir it helped me in my sst project

      • profile image

        Yashvardha sahu 12 days ago

        Thanks it helped me in. Geography's project

      • profile image

        anonymous 2 weeks ago

        Get your fresh avacados

      • profile image

        layne 2 weeks ago

        it is very sad to hear this and about tusnamis.this was a great articale

      • profile image

        Shadmssalzkxkls 4 weeks ago


      • profile image

        AYUSH HUDAIT 4 weeks ago


      • profile image

        dan the meme man 5 weeks ago

        thanks haha

      • profile image

        Danmmmm 5 weeks ago

        Bro you got me an A+!!!!!!! Thnx

      • profile image

        Aleena 6 weeks ago

        Awsome... this helped me alot

      • profile image

        Tamiki 6 weeks ago

        thx 4 helping

      • profile image

        Kusum 6 weeks ago

        Thank 4 the help

      • profile image

        TheOneKid 6 weeks ago

        Thanks this really help me complete my assignment thanks alot bro

      • profile image

        Smithy 6 weeks ago

        Thanks that helped with my assesment

      • profile image

        Amelia 6 weeks ago

        Really helpful with my assignment

      • profile image

        Shreeya 2 months ago

        Thanks!!Helped me in the geography project.

      • profile image

        jgd 2 months ago


      • profile image

        nadi 2 months ago

        Nice work

      • profile image

        Jakiebuiii 3 months ago

        awesome article dude

      • profile image

        keri woods 3 months ago


      • profile image

        naya 3 months ago

        thank you for this article

      • profile image

        Nicholas 3 months ago

        that helped

      • profile image

        bob 3 months ago

        very good

      • profile image

        Adian 3 months ago

        Very helpful with my assignment

      • profile image

        kc 3 months ago

        thanks for helping me

      • profile image

        Anonymous 4 months ago

        You spelled "death" wrong in the disease part. Other than that, this website helped me a lot!

        :) Keep it up!

      • profile image

        dhanyu 5 months ago

        thank u for this website this helps the students to do their project and it has lot of information

      • profile image

        RUTHLESS ASTRID PRASHANT 5 months ago


      • profile image

        firepaw 5 months ago

        this helped with my essay thanks

      • profile image

        gaurav 5 months ago


      • profile image

        fathima 5 months ago

        thankyou so much

      • profile image

        christabel 6 months ago

        thank you

      • profile image

        Rjo 6 months ago

        Thnks ... to this wbsite it is very helpfull to make a project

      • profile image

        Hkloojhhkkwkcjei 6 months ago


      • profile image

        merrielle 7 months ago

        helped me alot

      • profile image

        bumboi 7 months ago

        hey guys whats up its scarce a lot of stuff has went down in the news today like .

      • profile image

        Aashna 7 months ago

        This really helped me a lot

      • profile image

        Popopoo 7 months ago

        Thanks for helping me with my assaiment

      • profile image

        Someone 7 months ago

        Thanks to this website I have an assignment and it helped alot! :)

      • profile image

        Noob 7 months ago

        It helped me a lot in my project on disaster management.Thanks a lot....

      • profile image

        Popopoo 7 months ago

        Love it thanks for helping me on my assignment

      • profile image

        KS 8 months ago


      • profile image

        weirdo 8 months ago

        that was weird

      • profile image

        brock miller 8 months ago

        love it

      • profile image

        ricky 8 months ago

        thanks for the information

      • profile image

        Aaryika 8 months ago

        This information helps me a lot in my assignment.....Thanks a lot

      • profile image

        Rahul 8 months ago

        So dangerous

      • profile image

        1234567890 9 months ago

        TSUNAMIS ARE NOT TIDAL WAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        Annie L.B 9 months ago

        loved it

        good info

      • profile image

        xx 9 months ago

        a great help for my geography debates assignment, thx a lot!!!

      • profile image

        hayley bishop 10 months ago

        i am so sorry for what happen and for your loss i am really sorry.

      • profile image

        Thanks a lot it help me to do the project 10 months ago

        Thanks a lot it help me to do the project

      • profile image

        Barnez 10 months ago

        Tsunamis are not tilde waves

      • profile image

        unknown 10 months ago

        thx you helped my inquiry group and i

      • profile image

        Bartholemoew 11 months ago

        10/10 wood knowledge again

      • profile image

        shiv 12 months ago

        Thanx a lott

        I got a lot

      • profile image

        Adi 12 months ago

        Nice good information with basics

      • profile image

        divy rehat singh kohli 12 months ago

        this page helped me a lot for my project!!!!!!

        have a GREAT DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        and "THANK YOU"

      • profile image

        koyena 12 months ago

        This really helped me on making my project.....this website is very nice......

      • profile image

        kannuschruthi 13 months ago

        thank you so much for this amazing article :)

      • profile image

        Iyana Draughn 13 months ago

        Thank you for this. I have a paper to write and this helped me alot about my presentation.

      • profile image

        dffgff 13 months ago


      • profile image

        Amrit 13 months ago

        Nice speech got apriciated in class

      • profile image

        Michael 13 months ago

        This information has helped me with my humanities Natural disaster work." Thanks

      • profile image

        shambhavi 13 months ago

        Thanks this helped me a lot

      • profile image

        christine 13 months ago

        thanks a lot

      • profile image

        It was good 14 months ago

        You have a good piece of information which gave me good grades in my essay.

      • profile image

        CACA PEDOS 15 months ago

        PEDOS R SOOO SOO SOOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!! OMG

      • profile image

        noony2468 16 months ago

        thx my report is going to give me an A+

      • profile image

        luke 17 months ago

        super good info!

      • profile image

        clarancia 17 months ago

        Thank you very very much for this wonderful article as it is useful for me to complete my assignment.

      • profile image

        Ayush 18 months ago

        thanks bro . It helped me alot

      • profile image

        cj 18 months ago

        if a tsunami went over a hill would the water that went over the cause a flood

      • profile image

        Lora 18 months ago

        I have a question how is the farming in indonasia or water system

        before and after 2004 tsnami

      • profile image

        aryan3 19 months ago

        thanks for it

        it was a great help in my project

      • profile image

        Muddy gum 19 months ago

        It was one of the most interesting articles I have ever read. It also helped me win a competition on natural disasters. Can't wait for more!!!!


      • profile image

        Rohish 20 months ago

        My SSt project will be great

      • profile image

        slaydish 21 months ago

        thx alot

      • profile image

        Diana 21 months ago

        Tsunamis are one of the natural disasters being experienced in the world. It normally causes a lot of destruction any time it hits a place. Whenever essay writers are required to write essay on tsunami, they usually need to approach it in different angles to write. The better approach is use of scientific facts in relation to how that tsunami occurred. When writing the essay, remember that it is different with research paper where every aspect of happening is noted. Identify an idea and stick to it throughout. A good tsunami essay should include the most current data. There use of the most recent technological will make your researching more accurate and using the most current information.

      • profile image

        alan 22 months ago


      • profile image

        ash 22 months ago

        Wow!! Never expected to find anything as good as this.Thnx a lot

      • profile image

        qaka moyo 23 months ago

        thanx a lot.....it hlpd

      • profile image

        Alex xd 23 months ago

        Thank you, this is sure to help me with my speech

      • profile image

        tsunami mehra 23 months ago

        Thanks to this page

        ;-) by this page I am able to complete my project on disaster management

        Again Thanks You!!

      • profile image

        Aisha yilmaz 2 years ago

        Thanxxzzzzzzz Its very helpful for me & its very nice, so Thank you..............

      • profile image

        splendor 2 years ago

        It helped my project.Thanks

      • profile image

        Yukta 2 years ago

        Thank u it has been helping me in the disaster management project

      • profile image

        Tiare 2 years ago

        Thank you so much for the information.

      • profile image

        jess 2 years ago


      • profile image

        leo 2 years ago

        thank you

      • profile image

        Never give up 2 years ago

        Thx for making this page on the inernet

      • profile image

        ram 2 years ago

        very sad but it helps verymuch inproject

      • profile image

        GYROSEAL 2 years ago

        Very good and interesting infomation. This will help with my PowerPoint presentation. THANK YOU

      • profile image

        jaseena 2 years ago

        thanks ..

      • profile image

        pranay 2 years ago

        very good effects best ever seen in my life

      • profile image

        Swapnil Panicker 2 years ago

        Thanks;a lot

        This helped me a lot in my project;)

      • profile image

        Prakriti 3 years ago

        It help me a lot thankuuuu soooooooooooo much


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)