A tsunami is a series of massive waves from the ocean often caused by earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity, and even asteroids. It can rise to a hundred feet, causing severe floods and mass destruction. During a tsunami from the Indian Ocean, a little girl could save a lot of people, but how?
A 10-year-old English girl, Tilly Smith, learned about tsunamis a couple of weeks before vacationing with her family in Thailand. She was able to identify the warning signs and alarmed the hotel staff. They were able to evacuate the people off the beach.
Who is Tilly Smith?
Tilly Smith was born in 1994. Because of her keen eye and application of what she has learned in school, she saved hundreds of people at Maikhao Beach.
Though her family declined requests for interviews by commercial broadcasting agencies, she appeared at the United Nations in November 2005. During this time, she met Bill Clinton, the UN’s Special Envoy for Tsunami Relief. (Source: Scoop Whoop)
How Did Tilly Smith Predict That A Tsunami Was About to Hit Maikhao?
Tilly was on vacation with her family in Maikhao Beach, Thailand. In a geography class weeks before their vacation, her teacher Andrew Kearney taught them about tsunamis and the signs in predicting one.
While she and her family were on the beach, she recognized the signs; receding water from the shoreline and frothing bubbles on the sea surface. She called her parents’ attention, and they went ahead and notified the hotel staff.
The sea was fizzing and there was froth on of the waves. I kept thinking, ‘I’ve seen this, I’ve seen this somewhere’. I felt something terrible was going to happen.Tilly Smith for The Sun
The staff was able to clear out the beach just in time before the tsunami had hit. The water went on to flood town for miles; without Tilly’s warning, several people on the beach could’ve perished. (Source: Red Cross)
The power of education is the difference between I suppose success and failure, or life or death in this case, and there is nothing to substitute it for. Without education, people are powerless and as can be see here it can be very powerful in terms of directing your own lives.Andrew Kearney\
(Source: Mama Mia)
Where is Tilly Smith Today?
Tilly Smith received numerous awards for her heroism on that day. She was named Child of the Year by a French Children’s newspaper and had received the Thomas Gray Special Award from The Marine Society & Sea Cadets. She even had an asteroid named after her.
On December 26, 2005, she was given the honor to read a poem on the tenth anniversary of the disaster.
It wasn’t devastation or death that won the day. It was humanity that triumphed, the shining victory of generosity, courage, love.Naowarat Pongpaiboon
Today at age 26, Tilly lives in London and works in yacht chartering. (Source: Mama Mia)