The great earthquake and tsunami of 26 December 2004, and the resulting tragic loss of life across the Indian Ocean, created global awareness of the tsunami phenomenon, its unpredictability, and the destructiveness of its impact across political borders and ocean basins. An estimated 230,000 people lost their lives, and more than a million people were displaced, making it the worst tsunami catastrophe in history.
Conceived as a definitive reference work on this catastrophe, this comprehensive volume, a special issue of the journal Earthquake Spectra co-published with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, addresses the following topics: Seismology; Geology and Geophysics; Tsunami Field Surveys and Analyses; Performance of Structures and Lifelines; Preparedness; Societal Impacts; and Recovery and Reconstruction. The diversity of contributions reflects the unique nature of this event. The volume features an overview on tsunami run-up measurements from all over the Indian Ocean, as well as individual tsunami field surveys from 12 countries. Comprehensive discussions of the seismologic and geologic aspects are also included, as well as analyses of the impacts on communities throughout the region.
UNESCO is playing a central role in the international effort to assess the tsunami impact and identify priority needs in recovery and reconstruction. The lessons learned from this mega-disaster, for which no-one was prepared, are numerous and compelling. This volume represents a fundamental contribution towards defining the parameters of effective future action to reduce the vulnerability of populations at risk for such events.