12/29/2004, 00.00
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A battered continent: An Overview

According to the latest figures, the death toll stands at 68,000. First rescue operations reach northern Sumatra, in Indonesia where about 3,400 bodies have been found. An overview of the situation in the various affected countries follows.

Rome (AsiaNews) – The death toll from Sunday's earthquake in south-east Asia is rising by the hour. The latest figure stands at 68,000 dead. The missing are in the thousands buried in the mud or pulled out to sea by the waves.

Now, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the main danger lies in possible epidemic outbreaks.

"The immediate consequences of the earthquake," says David Tabarro, head of WHO's crisis unit, "could be small change compared to the sufferings in store for the populations affected by the disaster".

Here is an update for each country.


For the time being, Indonesia is the hardest hit country. Health Minister Chua Soi Lek said the death toll stood at 32,502 dead. But according to Vice-President Jusuf Kalla it could soon reach 40,000.

In the city of Meulaboth alone (on Sumatra's west coast) 3,400 bodies have been found but could reach 10,000.

The quake was so powerful that it moved Sumatra—the closest area to the epicentre—by 20 metres (65 feet)

Vice-President Kalla said the period of emergency will last a year and reconstruction, five.


The latest official figures put the number of dead at 21,700. The number of homeless is estimated at 1.5 million.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga has declared next Friday a national day of mourning. She has urged all Sri Lankans to put aside religious differences to help each other.

Witnesses report the tsunami wiped out a passing train killing all 802 passengers on board.


In India, the dead are officially 12,419. Hardest hit areas are the islands of Andaman and Nicobar in the Indian Ocean, closest to the underwater quake's epicentre, with 7,000 dead.

On Car Nicobar Island, about 20 per cent of the population is said to be dead, injured or missing as a result of the tsunami.

South-eastern state of Tamil Nadu suffered heavy losses with 4,642 dead.

Other affected states are Kerala (168 dead) and Andhra Pradesh (104 dead).


Officially, the death toll stands at 1,543, the wounded 8,950; among the dead, 473 foreign tourists who were spending their Christmas holidays on the famous islands of Phi Phi and Phuket. They include 54 Swedes, 49 Germans, 43 Britons, 11 Italians, and 84 unidentified Caucasians.

Poom Bhumi Jensen, grandson of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also drowned whilst water skiing.

The monarch gave 30 million baht (€ 570,000 or US$ 770,000) of his own money to help the population.


The quake killed 90 people in the country formerly known as Burma, destroying 17 villages, this according to UN sources. The ruling military junta announced 36 people perished.

Ayeyarwaddy province (south-west of the capital Yangon) and the southern region of Tanintharyi (on the Thai border) were the most affected areas.


Sixty people are known to have died in Malaysia. Hardest hit regions are on the Malay Peninsula in the western part of the country, namely the states of Penang (30 dead), Kedah, Perak and Perlis.

In the coastal city of Slungai Petani 26 people were killed; four in Langkawi.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stated that the government will immediately allocate 1000 ringit (€ 196 or US$ 265) per family that has lost a member in the disaster.


The death toll in the archipelago stands at 55, with 69 missing. About 2,000 homes have been destroyed and 9,000 people are left homeless.

Local tourism has suffered huge losses.


A boat was overturned by the waves drowning two passengers.  Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia offered "every possible assistance" to the affected neighbouring countries of Sri Lanka, India and Maldives.


The tsunami killed 110 fishermen in SOMALIA. In TANZANIA ten people were reported dead; one in KENYA. (LF)

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See also
Toll close to 100,000, 5 million displaced
Meulaboh, a ghost town
More than 13 thousand dead after quakes, tsunami smashed southern Asia
Buddhists pray for the dead, elephants help in post-tsunami recovery
Death toll in Asian disaster passes 26,000


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