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Tsunami Vocabulary Word List

by Sally Jennings

The words and phrases below were used frequently by the media after the December 2004 tsunami in Indonesia. They are a useful vocabulary-building exercise for talking about a tsunami, or other natural disaster and its aftermath. If the list were to be used as an educational resource for a class, students could build various sentences using this vocabulary, and with the proper past tense, create accounts of an event and its results.

Nouns and Noun Phrases

earthquake
seismic activity
tectonic plate
Pacific “Ring of Fire”
magnitude of earthquake
aftershocks
location of earthquake
tsunami
location of tsunami
tidal wave
sea
ocean
saltwater
surf
wave
breaker
comber
undertow
beach
seabed
reef, coral reef
shore, seashore
seaside
low lying land
refuge
place of safety
higher ground
building
ground level
first floor
second floor
third floor
balcony
deck
lobby
hut
warning, warning system
alarm
panic
fisherman, fishermen
surfers
swimmers
beachcombers
tourists
tour group
foreigner
family
single person
couple
baby
child, children
orphan
vacation
holiday
day
week
weekend
spa
resort
hotel
swimming pool
town
village
rural area
bridge
ferry
boat
skiff
island
group of islands
devastation
disaster
survivor
homeless people

Medical Words

the dead (body, burial, cremation, pyre)
victim
lacerations
cuts
bruises
broken bones
ruptured disc
internal injuries
pneumonia
cholera
typhoid
tetanus
epidemic
aftermath
hospital
hospital ship
medical team
doctor
nurse
paramedic
IV drip (intravenous drip)
diagnosis
treatment
medicine
surgery
operation
stitches
medical treatment
medical aid
financial aid
money
foreign aid
aid team
doctor
nurse
paramedic
armed forces

Travel Words

passport
photo ID (photo identification)
identification papers
travel documents
signature, signed documents
birth certificate
death certificate
adoption process
immigrant, immigrate
emigrant, emigrate
exit permit
traveller’s checks
paper money
coin
luggage
suitcase
carry-on
ticket
airline
plane
reservations
accommodations
departure
arrival

Technical/Media Communications Words

e-mail
Internet
web site
site
blog
bulletin board
chat board
cell phone
media
television crew
camera crew
photographer
photograph
newscaster
announcer
reporter
the press
newspaper
magazine
bureau chief
article
report
story
feature

Verb and Verb Phrases

to sleep, to be asleep
to sun oneself, to suntan
to scuba dive
to snorkel
to swim, to swim to safety
to raise an alarm, to sound an alarm
to survive, to barely survive
to cling (to something)
to crawl, to crawl on all fours
to get dragged by (something)
to get trapped by (something)
to grab onto (something or someone)
to drown
to be washed away
to be flooded, to be flooded out
to submerge, to be submerged
to collapse, to have collapsed
to be hungry
to be starving
to be injured, to get injured
to be orphaned, to be an orphan
to help
to be from (name of town or village where the person lives)
to be homeless
to survive
to feel sad
to feel sympathy, to express sympathy
to cry
to grieve
to remember

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