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Indian Ocean Tsunami – Ambassador : Aceh Death Toll May Hit 400,000
05:34 AM EDT | Posted By Alan E Brain
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From the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama :
The death toll in Acheh, the region worst hit by last Sundayï¿½s tsunami, may exceed 400,000 as many affected areas could still not be reached for search and rescue operations, Indonesiaï¿½s Ambassador to Malaysia Drs H. Rusdihardjo said Thursday.
He said the estimate was based on air surveillance by Indonesian authorities who found no signs of life in places like Meulaboh, Pulau Simeulue and Tapak Tuan while several islands off the west coast of Sumatera had ï¿½disappearedï¿½.
He said the latest death toll of more than 40,000 in Acheh and northern Sumatera did not take into account the figures from the other areas, especially in the west of the region.
ï¿½Aerial surveillance found the town of Meulaboh completely destroyed with only one buiding standing. The building, which belonged to the military, happens to be on a hill,ï¿½ he told reporters after receiving RM1 million in aid for Indonesiaï¿½s Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund here Thursday.
Rusdihardjo said there were about 150,000 residents in Meulaboh, which was located 150km from the epicentre of the earthquake while Pulau Simeuleu had a population of 76,000.
Update – 27/12/04 09:44 UTC (01:44 PST):
From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
At least 12,600 people have been killed and thousands more are missing after the most powerful earthquake for 40 years triggered giant tidal waves that slammed into coastal areas across Asia.
Walls of water up to 10 metres high were reported in many areas, roaring ashore with bewildering speed, sweeping people off beaches, flattening hotels and homes, uprooting trees and overturning cars.
In Indonesia at least 4,448 people were killed as the country took the full force of a huge earthquake and tidal waves that swallowed entire coastal villages, the health ministry said.
The Sri Lankan Government also declared a state of disaster as at least 4,500 people, including many children and the elderly, were killed on the island.
Indian officials said at least 3,300 people were killed and more than 700 feared dead across south India and the Andaman Islands.
More than 3,000 people were killed, the country’s top police official said; that number, however, does not include the unconfirmed 1,500 deaths reported by rebels who control part of the country. Massive tidal waves smash coastal villages. [source: AP]
President appeals for doctors:
“We are calling for doctors, Sri Lanka%u2019s doctors who are working abroad, to come back for the next two to three weeks,” she told Britain’s Sky News television channel during a visit to London.
“Any doctors of any nationality who would like to come,” she also suggested.
Tourists flee devastated island:
DOZENS of German and British tourists who survived tidal waves have moved to a makeshift refugee centre as they wait to leave Sri Lanka.[b]ruised and shaken, men and women today huddled at a conference centre where tour operators had set up help desks to arrange for the evacuation of the tourists.