World Turned Upside Down – December 26, 2004
. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – BBC World Service News – December 26, 2004 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Ten years ago on December 26, 2004, we were jolted from our Christmas mornings-after to learn an earthquake on the floor of the Indian Ocean measuring 8.9 struck off the island of Sumatra, triggering a Tsunami and a wall of water as high as 32 feet (10 meters)washing away entire villages and creating devastation from India to Thailand. It was the worst earthquake to hit the region in some 40 years and the death toll went from hundreds to thousands and hundreds of thousands within minutes.
News was slow in coming because many villages were in remote areas isolated and cut-off from communication. Further complicating matters was the ongoing fighting in Indonesia between government and Tamil Tiger forces made getting accurate reports of damage and injuries impossible for many days.
As reports kept pouring in and casualty and damage accounts continued to skyrocket, other news was taking a backseat. This day in 2004 was the 25th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops, and the beginning of that odyssey which became Russia’s version of our Vietnam. Also in the news that day were reports from the Ukraine of run-off elections taking place with Reform Party candidate Viktor Yushchenko maintaining a healthy lead.
But all the attention was focused on the Indian Ocean and the massive devastation coming to light this day, as reported by the BBC World Service on December 26, 2004.
Here is a 2-hour extract of news as it unfolded that day.