Bali completely escaped any of the catastrophic destruction resulting from the massive 8.9 Richter earthquake that struck just off the coast of northwest Sumatra on Sunday, December 26, 2005.
The quake, now considered one of the planet's largest shocks in the past 40 years, wreaked a path of international destruction causing death and injuries in Africa, the Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand and western Indonesia. While it will take days to asses the full extend of the total loss of human life, injuries and property damage caused by the earthquake and the resulting series of tidal waves – the estimated number of dead was approaching 15,000 just 24 hours after the initial tremor occured.
Damage in Western Indonesia Extensive
The Indonesian Meteorological and Geophysical Agency (BMG) placed the epicenter of the quake at a depth of 20 kilometers below sea level at a position 149 kilometers off the southern coast of Aceh, North Sumatra. While thousands of deaths in Western Indonesia resulted from the massive destruction of buildings in Loksumawe and Aceh in North Sumatra and from the effects of tidal waves along Sumatra's northern and western coasts, other areas of Indonesia remained largely untouched by the catastrophe.
Violent shifting of the tectonic plates – creating a sub-oceanic fissure estimated to be 600 kilometers in length – generated a massive tsunami that caused damage as far away as the coast of Mozambique in East Africa. However, the major brunt of the wave and heaviest loss of life took place in a broad northerly arc that swept over Sri Lanka, India's eastern coast, Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia. Major resort destinations packed with holidaymakers, such as Phuket in Southern Thailand and Sri Lanka's beach resorts, were among the worst affected by the tidal wave.
Bali-based travel operators, hotels and foreign consulates are reporting numerous enquiries from people seeking news of friends and relatives holidaying in Bali.
Bali – located some 2,500 kilometers away from the earthquake and well-shielded by numerous large intervening land masses, did not feel the earthquake or experience any of the deadly waves it generated.
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