The Daily Fix: A Decade After Disaster, Tsunami-Hit Nations Remember Past

All the news that’s fit to fix on Friday, Dec. 26.

A fisherman prays on the beach on Dec. 26 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, one of the cities worst hit by the 9.1 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami in 2004. (Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Dec 26, 2014· 2 MIN READ
Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.

Many of the nations hit hardest by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami held memorial services for the victims Friday, marking the 10-year anniversary of the deadliest natural disaster in recorded history.

The 9.1-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami were responsible for the deaths of nearly 230,000 people across 14 nations.

In Banda Aceh, Indonesia—one of the worst-hit cities—Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla led tributes to the dead at the Siron mass grave, and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha laid a wreath of remembrance, according to BBC News.

“Thousands of corpses were sprawled in this field,” Kalla said. “Tears that fell at that time...there were feelings of confusion, shock, sorrow, fear and suffering. We prayed.”

Ten years later, much of the region has been rebuilt. Like the other nations hit, Indonesia is now linked to the Tsunami Detection System in the Indian Ocean. Once an earthquake occurs, a system of seafloor sensors and surface buoys sends signals to government warning centers that can now alert cities a tsunami could be coming. A decade ago, such a system only existed in the Pacific Ocean.

If the system had been in place during the 2004 tsunami, countries such as Sri Lanka—where 51,000 lives were lost—could have been warned of the wave as it moved across the Indian Ocean, and thousands of lives could have been spared.

Still, much work on the system needs to be done, as evidenced when an 8.6 magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia in 2012 and the tsunami warning went into effect within five minutes of the tremors.

“The conditions were totally chaotic," Syarifah Marlina Al Mazhir, a lifelong resident of Banda Aceh, told National Geographic. “Instead of evacuating to safe areas, people were going home or picking up the kids at school, which created traffic jams.”

In other news…

Presidential Motorcade Takes Volunteers: There are a lot of vehicles in the presidential motorcade. So many, in fact, that the White House has been recruiting just about anybody as a driver. Volunteers with no special training regularly drive the white vans that carry press and White House staff. (via The New York Times)

Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox Gaming Networks Knocked Out: Hackers apparently shut down the two of the largest live gaming networks on Dec. 25, one of the busiest gaming days of the year. The hacker group Lizard Squad took responsibility for the attack but gave no indication that the plan was connected with the Sony cyber attacks in November, motivated in part by the planned release of the movie The Interview, which depicts the assassination of Kim Jong-un. (via CNN)

Female Drivers to be Tried in Saudi Terror Court: Two women who defied a ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia will be tried in a specialized terror court because of comments the two made on social media, the BBC reports. (via Time)

Factory Workers Too Tired to Eat: A new report has uncovered disturbing working conditions at a Chinese technology factory, where workers are pressured into working 65-hour weeks. They are so tired, they’re choosing to sleep on their lunch break instead of eating. (via Huffington Post)

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