In remembrance of the catastrophic tsunami that struck Sri Lanka’s coastal belt on December 26, 2004, claiming over 35,000 lives, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has announced a nationwide two-minute silence. This solemn moment of reflection will be observed from 9:25 a.m. to 9:27 a.m. on December 26.

This day marks the 19th anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, ranked among the world’s deadliest natural disasters. In honor of the lives lost, Sri Lanka designates December 26 as National Safety Day. The general public is urged to participate in the commemoration by observing the two-minute silence, extending heartfelt respect to the victims and their families.

In a poignant show of solidarity, the Sri Lanka X community, formerly known as Twitter Tweeps, will also participate in Twitter Silence during the same timeframe. From 9:25 a.m. to 9:27 a.m., community members will refrain from posting or tweeting, collectively remembering the Tsunami victims. This digital tribute underscores the significance of coming together to honor the memory of those affected by the devastating events of 2004.

On December 26, 2004, a colossal earthquake measuring 9.1–9.3 magnitude struck off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Known as the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake, this undersea megathrust event resulted from a rupture along the fault line between the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate.

The seismic disturbance triggered a massive tsunami, aptly named the Boxing Day Tsunami, with waves soaring up to 30 meters (100 feet) in height. Sweeping across the Indian Ocean, the tsunami wreaked havoc on communities in 14 countries, claiming an estimated 227,898 lives and earning its place as one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

The devastating impact was particularly felt in Aceh (Indonesia), Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu (India), and Khao Lak (Thailand), with Banda Aceh reporting the highest casualty numbers. The repercussions were profound, causing widespread disruptions to living conditions and commerce in coastal provinces. This catastrophic event stands as the deadliest natural disaster of the 21st century.

The earthquake set records as the most powerful ever recorded in Asia, the 21st century’s most potent seismic event, and at least the third most forceful earthquake since modern seismography’s inception in 1900. Its unprecedented duration of faulting, lasting between eight and ten minutes, caused the planet to vibrate by as much as 10 mm (0.4 in). Remarkably, it also triggered remote earthquakes as far away as Alaska.

The epicenter lay between Simeulue and mainland Sumatra, prompting a global humanitarian response. The collective effort garnered donations surpassing US$14 billion (equivalent to US$22 billion in 2022 currency), underscoring the magnitude of compassion and support extended to the affected nations and people. ( )