STEMAcademiaAgriculture & FarmingHumanitiesSocial Sciences

What are the effects of a tsunami?

Updated on March 20, 2016

Tsunami effects

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.

The Navy boat carried 2km inland by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004

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.

Tsunami videos


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      KS 4 days ago


    • profile image

      ba 4 days ago

      hes not a weirdo its inspiring!

    • profile image

      weirdo 7 days ago

      that was weird

    • profile image

      brock miller 8 days ago

      love it

    • profile image

      ricky 9 days ago

      thanks for the information

    • profile image

      Aaryika 13 days ago

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

    • profile image

      Rahul 2 weeks ago

      So dangerous

    • profile image

      1234567890 5 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      Annie L.B 6 weeks ago

      loved it

      good info

    • profile image

      xx 7 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      hayley bishop 2 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 2 months ago

      Thanks a lot it help me to do the project

    • profile image

      Barnez 2 months ago

      Tsunamis are not tilde waves

    • profile image

      unknown 2 months ago

      thx you helped my inquiry group and i

    • profile image

      Bartholemoew 3 months ago

      10/10 wood knowledge again

    • profile image

      shiv 3 months ago

      Thanx a lott

      I got a lot

    • profile image

      Adi 4 months ago

      Nice good information with basics

    • profile image

      divy rehat singh kohli 4 months ago

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

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

      and "THANK YOU"

    • profile image

      koyena 4 months ago

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

    • profile image

      kannuschruthi 4 months ago

      thank you so much for this amazing article :)

    • profile image

      Iyana Draughn 5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      dffgff 5 months ago


    • profile image

      Amrit 5 months ago

      Nice speech got apriciated in class

    • profile image

      Michael 5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      shambhavi 5 months ago

      Thanks this helped me a lot

    • profile image

      christine 5 months ago

      thanks a lot

    • profile image

      It was good 5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      CACA PEDOS 7 months ago


    • profile image

      noony2468 8 months ago

      thx my report is going to give me an A+

    • profile image

      luke 9 months ago

      super good info!

    • profile image

      clarancia 9 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Ayush 9 months ago

      thanks bro . It helped me alot

    • profile image

      cj 10 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Lora 10 months ago

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

      before and after 2004 tsnami

    • profile image

      aryan3 11 months ago

      thanks for it

      it was a great help in my project

    • profile image

      Muddy gum 11 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 12 months ago

      My SSt project will be great

    • profile image

      slaydish 12 months ago

      thx alot

    • profile image

      Diana 13 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 14 months ago


    • profile image

      ash 14 months ago

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

    • profile image

      qaka moyo 15 months ago

      thanx a hlpd

    • profile image

      Alex xd 15 months ago

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

    • profile image

      tsunami mehra 15 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 17 months ago

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

    • profile image

      splendor 17 months ago

      It helped my project.Thanks

    • profile image

      Yukta 17 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Tiare 20 months ago

      Thank you so much for the information.

    • profile image

      jess 20 months ago


    • profile image

      leo 21 months ago

      thank you

    • profile image

      Never give up 24 months 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 2 years ago

      It help me a lot thankuuuu soooooooooooo much

    • profile image

      Kashish 2 years ago

      Nice !! thank you a lot ........

    • profile image

      payal 2 years ago

      thank u sooooooooooo much

    • profile image

      Lekshmi CB 2 years ago

      This is so helpful.... this helped me doing my project

    • profile image

      noshin ramisa 2 years ago

      good info

    • profile image

      book 2 years ago

      some wrong info. they are not caused by a tidal wave, but by a disturbance under water like an earthquake.

    • profile image

      radhika 2 years ago

      itsssssss very amazing for me.thankssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss vry vry vry vry vry mch

    • profile image

      asma 2 years ago

      Its helping me in making my geography project. Thank you.

    • profile image

      navjot johal 2 years ago

      very very thanks for my tsunami project .

    • profile image

      devika 2 years ago

      Thnx.......its so helpful for my project. It includes all the topic dat i need.....

    • profile image

      Suhaib 2 years ago

      Thankyou ............sssssssooooooo much saved my life and im not joking.

    • profile image

      agam 2 years ago

      Thank you very much

    • profile image

      ANJU S L 3 years ago

      thanks a lot.............. MAY GOD BLESS U!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      teju 3 years ago

      Thank u very much it helps me to complete my project sucessfully

    • profile image

      chhavi 3 years ago

      Thank u very muchhhhhh i only complete my project only by this website once again thankyouuuuu

    • profile image

      kashish arora 3 years ago

      Thnx it helps me in my project and gave me some knowlage

    • profile image

      MANOJ DASS 3 years ago

      thanking you its is help ma to my projet

    • profile image

      abhay 3 years ago

      Thanx a lot man!!

      This article realyy helped me out for my sst project...!!


    • profile image

      linkin park 3 years ago

      useful for my project and thankx a lot

    • profile image

      JUSTINE BIBER 3 years ago

      Thanx it is very informative for me ......thanx dude....

    • profile image

      daphne 3 years ago

      thanx........its very informative

    • profile image

      nandy 3 years ago

      very useful for my project

    • profile image

      Kashish Sharma 3 years ago

      thank you its very informative

    • profile image

      ayush gupta 3 years ago

      thanx ...... from this I came to know how people feels when they are present at the time of disaster.......

    • profile image

      Aditi 3 years ago

      Thnx... for the help

    • profile image

      prachi 3 years ago

      Thanks its really help ful in project I lve it.....

    • profile image

      peta 3 years ago

      thanks :)

    • profile image

      Savannah 3 years ago

      Thank you I got a lot of information from this

    • profile image

      Madison 3 years ago

      THANK YOU SO MUCH! this is some of the best information that I have found about tsunamis. this really helped me with my research paper!!!!!

    • profile image

      jack 3 years ago

      thanks got info

    • profile image

      boo 3 years ago

      omg the lord is with you always

    • profile image

      Aish 3 years ago

      hey....thankss for thiS ! :)

      bt i need A statistical data of tsunami ( wave length ) .... for my maths project.......Can u pleaseee help mee in thiS ??

    • profile image

      sidhant 3 years ago

      thanks its helfull

    • profile image

      adeeba 3 years ago

      best......................thanks a lot!!!!

    • profile image

      yo moma 3 years ago

      not much helpful. JUst fake facts, my teacherv said so.

    • profile image

      Lakhwiinder 3 years ago

      thanks for helping me in my assignment

    • profile image

      SURYA.PRADEEP 4 years ago

      It really helped me for my project.''THANK YOU''

    • profile image

      siddharth 4 years ago

      thanks a lot it has helped me a lot once again thankuuuuuu

    • profile image

      aimeebaxter 4 years ago

      this really helped with my inquiry and i got top marks for all my papers thanks heaps you really are amazing

    • profile image 4 years ago

      thanks a lot. you helped me with my report.

    • profile image

      papiya 4 years ago

      Thanxxxxx a lot... Helped a lot in my project. Better than wikipedia

    • profile image

      Alya 4 years ago


      It really helped me lot for my project

    • profile image

      Tanu 4 years ago

      thankuuuuuu...... Sir

      It really helped me for my project

    • profile image

      ramiya 4 years ago

      thank you a lot..................

      this information saved my marks..