Survivor Accounts Of The
Earthquake And Tsunami

Readers of the BBC News website have been sending in their own experiences of the disaster. The following is a selection of the reports received so far:
I was sleeping in a tent near a beach in a national park on the east of Phuket airport when I started being shaken around by the sea (around 10am. I woke up fast as the tidal waves started to wash the tent away. I could not find the zip and had to tear the tent apart to get out. I struggled a little bit to rescue the tent and its contents but had to rapidly let go of the whole thing to save myself. As I escaped, the water became extremely muddy and the tidal and the forested area made the escape very difficult. Finally managed to climb onto a tree to get some relief from the waves of mud and moving objects (cars, trees). After regaining some strength, went to rescue a young boy that had been separated from his parents and was stuck in the branches of a fallen tree (his parents were very relieved to find us later on at a local dispensary - one of their friends had not been so lucky and had lost her two kids.) As I escaped the area, I could apprehend the vastness of the devastation! Alain Diandet, Phuket, Thailand
I have lived in Rawai Beach, Phuket for the last 10 years and have seen nothing like this. We are at the south east end of the island, and all the boats here are gone. Just around the corner on the west coast at Phuket's most beautiful beach, Ya Nui beach there is nothing left. There were two houses on the beach and a restaurant, behind the beach was at least 25 bungalows they are also completely gone. I have many friends on this beach and we have already found one dead. I am sure there will be many more. Tony Bridgse, Phuket Thailand
Bonaborak Thamasamatri, Phuket My second cousin, her husband and two kids were in Maldives for Christmas and New Year. Just found out a short while ago that they're alive. They were lying on the beach when the tidal waves struck! Had to tie their kids to trees or they'd have been washed away in the waters. Hotels are flattened and all they have is the swimming costumes they were wearing at the time, everything else washed away. British Embassy hoping to get them on a flight to Gatwick tomorrow if possible. At least they're alive, thank God. Graham, Scotland
I received this email message from Kuredu Hotel Resort Maldives: "We are pleased to inform you that we have survived from the earthquake and there was no damage except a little to the Jetty. And everyone in Kuredu was okey We do not have any telephone service earlier, but now telephone service is also working." Margaret, UK
We were awake at about 8am this morning when the room started swaying. We're on the 29th floor. The curtain poles were swinging as was the umbrella in the wardrobe. I was in the bath (!) at the time and the water was moving from one end to the other. I guess it can be best described as like being in a boat on a choppy sea. It seemed to last for a good 5 minutes or so. It wasn't quick. At first I thought I'd had a few beers too many the night before - it was my wife who realised that it was an earthquake. Otherwise it's pretty normal here in Bangkok. Another beautiful day albeit with a bit of a scary start! Derek Mansfield, Landmark Hotel, Bangkok
Am I the only one who has found the tone of the coverage so far distasteful and inappropriate? Thousands of people have been killed, whole families and communities wiped out and probably tens (hundreds?) of thousands more - lucky enough to survive- will be left with absolutely nothing. Yet the emphasis of the British media so far seems to have been on the unfortunate British tourists who have had their holidays ruined. Sean, Wokingham
Our friends Dalene and Gerhard Theron and their daughter Janine (24) are stuck on a mountain on Phuket, where they were herded from their hotel. Dalene is wearing only undies and Janine says she has her see-through nighties on. They were hysterical initially, but are now calmer and thankful to be alive. They are awaiting rescue by helicopter and hoping that the South African Embassy will assist them once they are back on firm soil. Jeanne Rust, Pretoria South Africa
I was on the beach when I saw a big wave coming. I ran and told everyone to get off the beach now and I ran away hard but the wave got me and I slid a long way on my bottom into a tree. Then I saw the ground below and I thought "I die now" but I did not die. Bonaborak Thamasamatri, Patong Beach Phuket
The "whole of Laguna" is not gone. I was playing tennis at the Banyan Tree when the first wave hit and we did not notice anything at all. However, when we left the Hotel there were traffic queues on the road that goes out from the Laguna area. Part of the Sheraton and Dusit hotels in Laguna have been damaged. The worst areas hit in Phuket are Kata, Patong and Kamala beach on the west coast. Many beach restaurants and shops have been swept away. Maria Kaye, Phuket
This southern part of the country was hit by tidal waves in the morning. Water from the world-famous Marina Beach has entered the prestigious Beach Road, which is almost a half kilometre away from the seafront, washing away some fishermen on the coast. Buses are not plying and shops have put up shutters leaving the normal life completely paralysed. People are glued to TV to have a glimpse of the latest, and are curious rather anxious to know about the possibilities of aftershocks. Rajaneesh, Madras. India
Does anybody else find it significant that this earthquake occurred at a time of full Moon, ie spring tides, which pull the rocks of the Earth just as they do the waters? Mark Burford, Braintree, England
We are on the holiday resort of Kurumba in the Maldives, we were hit by the aftershock but from what information we have no one was killed, just a lot of property damage. The tide came in quickly we have a barrier but the wave was too big. We heard the island resort of Full Moon is in much worse shape. Some residents of neighbouring islands are being brought here to sleep. Not much information here but we do have BBC and CNN. Evelyn, Evergreen, Colorado
I woke up to what I thought was banging on our hotel door - it blew open and we were tossed from our bed by the surge of tide into the room. It broke out the back windows and we were carried out. We scrambled on to walls and rooftops but within minutes the tide surged higher and 15 to 20 feet was not high enough. The buildings around me collapsed and I was thrown into the surge. When I came up there was a branch I grabbed on and held. Surviving the receding tides was hardest. Pinned against a tree by the water, debris and bodies started to pile up against me and it felt like I was being crushed. In the end, the whole resort was gone. There are many others like me - lost, dazed and searching for their loved ones. Kevin Aldrich, Phang Nga, Thailand
Received a telephone call from my boyfriend who works at Soneva Gili, a resort in the Maldives at 7.30am GMT (26th), to tell me what had happened and to say that he thought everyone on the island was OK. It seemed as though there was little left of the resort and that food and water supplies had been lost, along with all belongings. Catherine Lawrence, UK
My best friend and girlfriend went to Sri Lanka for Xmas...we haven't heard from them in 2 days . Last text on Sat!! Kyri and Rachael...I hope u are well and hope you will spend NY with us in UK...xxxx George Eliades, London
Tsunami has caused an inconceivable damage in Sri Lanka. Extent of the damage can be visualised by the following facts - a train with 1500 passengers has washed away, all passengers missing, buses are seen floating in deep sea with no clue of the passengers on board, some villages, hotels and markets have washed away leaving no traces. Harshana Somapriya, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
The waves that hit us at 8:45 local time were rising and then receding every 10 mins. This happened at least for three hours. All our cottages were washed away. This is Sunil from the Fisherman's Cove - a beach resort off Chennai, India. That's why it does not look like a single tidal wave as reported. This is something different which needs to be identified. Sunil Swarup, Mahaballipuram, India
My son Luke Tunbridge and his girlfriend Laura Blackman are on the island of Ko Lanta. We have no real information as to how radically this island is affected. Have tried all day to contact FO on number given out via media only to get a BT message that the line is busy. Only in this country would people be expected to tolerate such a lack of information. Kevin Tunbridge, Bury St. Edmunds Suffolk
Don't forget, news from disaster hit countries is hard to get. Also, communications from many countries to the UK is difficult at any time, never mind when telephone and radio links are down - perhaps get a local radio ham to help. Keith Haywood, Manchester
Today morning at about ten o clock, we heard that our island has been hit by tsunamis. Here in Sri Lanka we have very little knowledge about tsunamis, so we all went down to the sea and watched to our amazement that the sea had receded and everything was calm, so we were all swimming and fishing, and no one noticed that the sea level had gradually risen, until the sea became very rough and within a time space of five minutes our shores were hit by a large wave. Fortunately we were all able to escape as the wave was not very large and was slow moving, but still some houses along the coast were damaged. Kavveen Kanagarajh, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Lawrence, Belgium Does anyone have any news from Burma? If tsunamis hit Sri Lanka and India, they certainly have hit the southern Yangon delta of Burma, and maybe even the capital. I have a few Burmese friends but my attempts to contact them by phone have all failed. Does anyone have any news on the situation in southern Burma? Lawrence, Belgium
My uncle who lives in Kalmunai, Batticaloa in Sri Lanka had his house destroyed while he was at church a mere 15 minutes away. Damean, Canada
The State Government of Tamil Nadu would/is already confused how to proceed with the situation, as they receive different versions from people who tend to exaggerate. In the meanwhile, the general public should be advised not to spread rumours. Everyone likes bedtime stories, but at this point in time, rightly informing the uneducated and/or shutting up would be of help. Anand Sundaram, Chennai, India
I just want to let you guys know that those of us living in the south of Malaysia did no feel much of the earthquake and that we are all safe and sound... Soren Lofstedt, Malacca, Malaysia
We have just heard from friends and relatives in Geraldton (north coast of Western Australia) that they have suffered tremors and some wave movement at the town beach. The water is said to have hit approximately 70 metres inland. Louise Baxter, Perth, Western Australia
We were in a pub on the island of Bali when suddenly a huge wave hit the beach nearby. We scrambled to safety but only after most of the furniture in the pub had been swept into the sea. We are very lucky to be alive!! Paul Miller, Dixon, USA
Ali, Male', Maldives Male' is protected by a special artificial barrier and yet it's flooded and destroyed. The other islands have no protection; there are thousands of these islands with thousands of people, including tourists, and there's no form of communication to even let them know what is happening, and very sadly, thus we fear there may be thousands dead, including fishermen and divers! Ali, Male', Maldives
If the earthquake occurred early in the morning and was recorded on seismic instruments hours before the tidal waves struck, why wasn't anyone warned? Hopefully we can use this equipment to warn people instead of just telling them how big the earthquake was afterwards. Eric Braddom, Shanghai, China
I was driving along Gurney Drive about 13:30, Sunday. I noticed the sea water has receded. Then I saw a white swell about 2km from shore. Lots of motorists stopped to take a look. In less than 2 minutes, then swell became bigger and accelerated towards the shore and flooded the road. Everyone panicked and tried to drive away. I estimated the wave, when it reached the shore (from trough to top) was about 2m high. Cheah Tek Ming, Penang, Malaysia
I stay at a distance of 3kms from the beach, the most basic fear in people's mind is whether there would be any more repeats of the tidal wave. We are absolutely clueless... Sudharshun, Chennai
I live in Woodlands, just opposite the causeway to Johor Bahru Malaysia. I live on the 7th floor of a high rise and didn't feel a thing. Neither did my partner at work at the National University Hospital, on the other side of the tiny island. Anne McGown, Singapore
Why was there no warning about the "Tsunami" after the earthquake? Where the scientists on holiday? George, Phuket, Thailand
Matthew Ward, Raley Beach, Thailand Out on a boat all day so missed the resort I was staying in being completely destroyed. Then was just about to get into the water to dive when the tidal wave struck. If we'd been under water we'd have been wiped out. Incredible scenes of destruction as we tried to return to our beach: hundreds of people stranded on remote islands; long tail boats submerged and overturned; whole trees drifting in the water; helicopters and coast guards trying to get to the injured; and the eeriest thing was sandals and flip flops floating in the water. Matthew Ward, Raley Beach, Thailand
Myanmar has a coastal area of more than 1300 mile facing the Bay of Bengal. I think Tsunami didn't spare Myanmar coast. I am worrying about those suffering from tidal wave in Myanmar. They will not get any international help if the world doesn't know about damage at that area. Aung , Myanmar
12 to 13 hours after the Indonesian earthquake struck, a series of 3 small waves arrived at the east coast of Mauritius, 2,500 miles away, causing fairly rapid, non-threatening, 3ft fluctuations(over periods of about 5 -10 minutes)in the tide level at the fishing village of Trou D'Eau Douce. Alan C. Brown, Trou D'Eau Douce, Mauritius
Staying in Madras, on the second floor of the Hotel Alvington. Woke up this morning noticing a very slight tremble. Hours later the tidal wave hit - building seemed to bend with the wave, water through our room, sheer devastation on the streets below and around. Thomas Piper, Sri Lanka
Lot of rumours are afloat - warning of more tsunami's - most of the apartment blocks are deserted with people moving inland. The plight of the fisher folk is sad - some of them have been starving since morning...the relief effort is hampered due to the sheer size of the tragedy- there is more than 40 kms of coast line with over 12 fishing hamlets in Chennai alone... Vijay, Chennai, India
Minakshi, Mauritius I am writing from Mauritius island. We had our share of tidal waves too in the eastern part of the island. The authorities went to the beaches to move people away to prevent any kind of casualties. From the reports of the local TV, it is being said that there were waves of up to 3m for some 3 hours. According to reports things have returned to normal. However, Rodrigues island was more touched since the sea water has flooded some areas of the island. Fortunately, no one has been killed, whether in Mauritius or Rodrigues Island. I would like also, to express my deepest regret and sympathy to all those who have lost their families in this tragedy! Minakshi, Mauritius
We are on holiday here in Phuket. The beach near where we are staying - Bangtao - has suffered major damage, but mainly to the fishermen and the people who have shops on the beach. Many of our hotel staff and their families have been affected, yet remain at work providing services to their guests like us. All of us fear the final death toll, and in particular are worried that the many tourists who went out on boat trips this morning have not returned. Charles Dickson, Phuket, Thailand
I'm emailing from an internet cafe across the road from our hotel, Browns Beach in Nygombo. Sitting on the beach terrace having lunch, and saw an enormous wave heading for us. We all jumped up and ran; all we could hear was breaking glass and screams. It was chaos; people were injured by spraying glass, some taken to hospital. The hotel is devastated on the ground floor as well as all beach bungalows. The hotel staff are amazing, having food brought in, looking after the guests. Travel agents have not even been in touch, we have not a clue what is happening about being rehoused. There are no hotels free, all booked up. At least 50 families in the hotel have lost luggage drifting out to sea. It really is bad here. People are praying in the churches, locals, all leaving town. Jacqui Walker, Sri Lanka
The death toll in my state, Kerala, has risen to about 300. The most devastating one was at a church in Velankanni where more than 2000 people were in morning prayer session when the tides struck. About 300 deaths are estimated in Velankanni itself and about 500 in the state as a whole. The water is found continuously flowing towards north and has now started to rise in its level. Jinesh K J, Trichur, Kerala, India


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