| || On December 26 th 2004, the Indo-Australian plate abruptly slid under the Indonesian plate, triggering an earthquake of magnitude 9 on the Richter scale – the energetic equivalent of 30,000 atom bombs. The shockwave propagated itself through the Indian Ocean at the speed of an airplane and, nearing the coastline, gathered itself into a giant wave reaching a height of over 10 m in some places. The shores of Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Indonesia and the Maldives were devastated, and 295,000 people died in the disaster. In the aftermath of the catastrophe, governments and citizens united the world over in an unprecedented surge of planetary solidarity. Sent by the French Land forces, this helicopter (based on the aircraft carrier Joan of Arc) takes part in the assistance brought to the populations. Never has a tragedy elicited such compassion. Was it due to the media coverage of the event, to the tourist appeal of the places concerned, or to the fearful reminder of nature’s power and strength? One can only wonder why such a disaster as the Tangshan earthquake of July 1976 in China that killed 242,000 people did not have a similar impact ?
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