Twelve Years Ago Today
26th December 2004 will be remembered as a day that shook the Maldives. Never before had Maldivians witnessed such devastation caused by the great seas that surround the island nation.
The tsunami traveled at over 700 kilometers per hour and reached Maldives at 9:20 AM on 26 December 2004. Tidal waves ranging from 4 to 14 feet were reported in all parts of the country, destroying lives and livelihoods of a third of the population. The disaster severely affected the whole country, flooding all but 9 islands. 13 islands were totally evacuated. The tsunami claimed 82 lives, left 26 people missing and displaced over 15,000 people
The tsunami destroyed much of the country’s physical asset base including homes and entire settlements, public service utilities such as hospitals, clinics and schools, transport and communications infrastructure, private businesses and livelihoods. The main industries of fisheries and tourism were badly hit, wiping out two decades of investment and economic development. The total asset loss is estimated to be 62 percent of GDP.
The National Disaster Management Center (NDMC) was established as part of the national repose to manage the disaster situation in the country. Twelve years later today, NDMC continues to be the leading government agency working on Disaster and Emergency Response, Relief and Recovery as well as in Risk Reduction.
Learning from our past experiences and the many lessons learned, and as one of the most vulnerable small island nation, we urge all sectors and stakeholder to work on risk reduction. To take up serious mitigation measures, to better equip us in order for us to be more prepared and for us to continue to build capacity across the country, together we can achieve resilience.