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Destination: Titan

At 0:59 GMT on 26 December 2004, the India tectonic plate slid underneath its neighbour, raising it by about 10 metres. The earthquake caused a powerful tsunami that devastated coastlines around the Indian Ocean. Entire towns were wiped from the map, almost 300,000 people were killed, and millions have been left in urgent need of food and shelter. As the full horror sinks in, Nature news tackles the inevitable questions. Why was there no warning? Where should aid be directed? And can we stop such a tragedy from happening again?

Indian Ocean tsunami
A guide to the coutries hit by the wave, how it formed and a timeline of its travels.

Sri Lanka's water still plagued by tsunami 
Wells flooded with salt and pollution, survey finds.
06 May 2005
Coral survived tsunami battering  
Recovery off Thai coast bodes well for other reef systems.
12 April 2005
World Bank pinpoints disaster hot spots 
Identification of at-risk regions will prioritize preparations.
30 March 2005
Indonesia still in jeopardy 
Nature news talks to the expert who predicted where second earthquake would strike.
30 March 2005
Second giant quake rocks Indonesia 
Seismologists puzzle over absence of tsunamis.
29 March 2005
Quake threat rises after tsunami slip 
Nearby faults are under increased strain after December's catastrophe.
16 March 2005
Sea bed reveals earthquake scars 
Asian tsunami highlights problems with spreading information.
10 February 2005
Environmental scientists told to 'get the word out' 
Asian tsunami highlights problems with spreading information.
4 February 2005
Tsunami towns urged to plan reconstruction 
Communities given helping hand with responsible rebuilding.
18 January 2005
UN assesses tsunami food shortages  
Damage to fisheries and fields could affect millions.
12 January 2005
Tsunami survivors face pneumonia threat 
Respiratory disease deemed biggest menace in disaster's aftermath.
7 January 2005
Mass graves not necessary for tsunami victims 
Report says need for rapid burial to avert health risks is a myth.
7 January 2005
UN surveys ecological ravages of tsunami 
Environmental destruction threatens both wildlife and livelihoods.
6 January 2005
Aerial shots reveal extent of devastation 
The sheer force of the Indian Ocean tsunami is shown in these satellite photos.
4 January 2005
Tsunami alert plans accelerate 
UN urges action and education while disaster is fresh in people's minds.
4 January 2005
Aftershocks rock ravaged region 
Experts rush to calm fears that later quakes could exacerbate Asian disaster.
31 December 2004
Earthquake disaster: how to help 
Five million people in the area affected by the tsunami are thought to be in desperate need of aid. Nature news explains who is doing what to help, and how you can donate.
30 December 2004
Sumatran quake sped up Earth's rotation 
Natural disaster shaved millionths of a second off planet's day.
30 December 2004
Indonesian tsunami-monitoring system lacked basic equipment 
Telephone line needed to relay warning signals was cut off in 2000.
29 December 2004
Asia grapples with tsunami aftermath 
Disease threatens to claim many thousands of lives, aid agencies warn.
29 December 2004
Devastating quake redraws map 
Seismic 'megathrust' leaves islands displaced.
29 December 2004
news and analysis

On the trail of destruction 
Quirin Schiermeier travels to Sri Lanka with a team of scientists in the wake of last month's tsunami. Together with locals they search through the damage for clues of where the wave hit hardest.
26 January 2005
Get off the beach — now! 
Seismologist Chris Chapman was in Sri Lanka on 26 December when an earthquake shook the ocean. He tells Nature how he survived the resulting tsunami.
26 January 2005
Data sharing for disasters 
Last month's tsunami and its aftermath have highlighted a need for more science — and more effective sharing of data.
26 January 2005
Solo efforts hamper tsunami warning system 
Lack of coordination and data sharing causes global confusion.
26 January 2005
Indian Ocean fault line poses threat of further earthquakes 
Energy from 26 December quake could hasten the next rupture.
18 January 2005
After the tsunami - a diary from Sri Lanka 
In the aftermath of one of the deadliest natural disasters in decades, Quirin Schiermeier travels to Sri Lanka with a team of scientists to see how the area was affected. He reports back with details of their investigations, and impressions of life today in one of the countries hit hardest by the wave.
13 January 2005
Agencies fear global crises will lose out to tsunami donations 
AIDS, malaria among the issues that may face funding shortfall.
12 January 2005
Scientists seek action to fix Asia's ravaged ecosystems 
Environmental concerns will be key to repairing communities.
12 January 2005
Forces gather behind proposal for a natural-disaster agency 
Asian tsunami prompts political support for new international body.
11 January 2005
A divided world 
The lack of preparation for last month's tsunami illustrates shocking disparities in how science is applied in different regions of the world. The global response to the disaster offers a glimmer of hope that these disparities will be addressed.
5 January 2005
Inadequate warning system left Asia at the mercy of tsunami 
Scientists and governments were caught unprepared.
5 January 2005
Triple slip of tectonic plates caused seafloor surge 
Biggest quake in 40 years redraws the map.
5 January 2005
Tsunamis: a long-term threat 
Other regions around the globe are at higher risk.
5 January 2005
India pledges to fund alert system in wake of disaster 
Government reacts with $29 million pledge for future warnings.
5 January 2005


World Health Organization tsunami information
UN World Food Programme
UN Refugee Agency