BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Reporters’ log: Asian quake disaster
Several countries around the Indian Ocean have been hit by devastating sea surges. The BBC’s correspondents report from the affected areas as rescue attempts begin.
Matthew Grant : Madras, India : 2007 GMT
Many people were out walking or playing cricket on the beaches of Madras when the tidal wave struck. Police have recovered hundreds of bodies from the city and along the coast.
Others have been washed ashore. Some were thrown into lorries while others were carried to hospital on carts or in sacks.
Locals say they felt the rumble of the earthquake early this morning from its epicentre thousands of miles away in the Indian Ocean.
Then, just over an hour later came what they describe as the wall of water. It slammed into the coastline.
It’s now dark in Madras and most of the water’s gone back out to sea but along the coast there’s still signs of devastation.
Many of the roads there are closed and strewn with debris. Some of the shanty towns by the beaches are completely destroyed and out to see hundreds of fishermen are still believed to be missing.