01/05/2005, 00.00
EU - ASIA

Europe, 3-minute silence for dead and missing

The death toll from the tsunamis will be over 155,000. WHO estimates there are more than 500,000 people injured and in need of medical care.

Rome (AsiaNews/Agencies) - At 1100 GMT in the UK and Ireland  and 12.00 in continental Europe , all 25 countries will mark three minutes of silence in memory of those killed in the disaster, and to demonstrate support for the millions whose lives have been devastated. The call to participate came from Luxembourg, which holds the EU's rotating presidency.

Flags will fly at half mast across most of the continent to mark the deaths of almost 150,000 people after a quake-triggered tsunami hit 11 nations on December 26. Tens of thousands more people remain unaccounted for as hopes of finding the missing fade. The United Nations estimates the total number of dead will exceed 155,000. Death tolls by country are: Indonesia: 94,200;  Sri Lanka: 30,240; India: 9,675; Thailand: 5,246; Somalia: 200; Myanmar: 90; Maldives: 82; Malaysia: 68; Tanzania: 10; Bangladesh: 2; Kenya: 1..

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are more than 500,000 people injured and in need of medical care across six Asian nations. Disease remains a threat to areas around the Indian Ocean. There is no information so far "on an epidemic of cholera or anything else" in tsunami-devastated countries, but there has been an increase in the incidence of diarrhea, which is a warning sign,WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said on Tuesday at a news conference. She added that the main threat to public health now is a lack of clean drinking water, saying drinking stagnant water could cause typhoid, dysentery or cholera.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived in the Indonesian province of Aceh on Wednesday to assess the huge damage wrought by the tsunamis and the United States' role in relief efforts. Accompanied by US President George W. Bush's brother Jeb, Powell was due to fly in a US military helicopter over Aceh's west coast, where walls of water destroyed entire villages. He was scheduled to return to Jakarta later in the day for a meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ahead of an emergency disaster summit of world leaders and donors in the Indonesian capital on Thursday.

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