The latest and one of the most powerful tsunami (tidal wave) attack occurred off the north coast of Papau New Guinea, in the Western Pacific. The 10m high tsunami engulfed heavily populated villages 30 minutes after two undersea earthquakes of magnitude 7 on the Richter Scale struck the area.
The filmsy thatched homes, built mainly on the beach, had no chance of withstanding the waves' great impact and seven villages were wiped off the map and up to 1,000 people are dead but the death tolls could be higher as many more were missing, believed to be swept away by the huge waves.
Almost an entire generation of these villages was believed to have been wiped out as most of the children who were along the coast were drowned in the waves.
There was great damage to property as roads, bridges, buildings and villages were destroyed. People built their homes close to the beaches as they have never anticipated a tsunami will crash into the island. The last tidal wave in the area was dated way back to December 1930.
-- Mr Rob Parer
expatriate living in PNG for 44 years