Breaking News: Massive Earthquake South-east Asia

Rick van Opbergen
Tsunami Death Toll Tops 67,000
Wednesday, December 29th (external - login to view)

Some statistics:

- 33,000 deaths in Indonesia (Atjeh), with villages and towns totally destroyed;
- 23,000 deaths in Sri Lanka, fear for the spread of diseases is rising;
- 10,000 (12,000 according to other sources) deaths in India (according to CNN), some 7,000 on the mainland and 3,000 on the Andamar and Nicobar islands;
- 1,500 deaths in Thailand, a great part of them tourists;
- hundreds of deaths on the Maldives (55), in Myanmar (36), Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya (all three together 133), Malaysia (64), Bangladesh (2) and the Seychelles (10 people missing).

What I was wondering is the following: for what I know, the Maldives have been totally flooded. The Maldives are a group of islands which are just above the sea level, which meant that the tsunami could roll over the islands fairly easy. What will this mean for the future of this country? The tourism is gone - with some 75% of the land flooded (that's what I've heard), it will be very hard to restore tourism on a short base. What about sources of income, like fishing or farming? So again, what will be the future of this nation?

According to NOS News (Dutch), so far some 570 tourists have been reported killed, 470 in Thailand and 100 in Sri Lanka. In the whole of southeast Asia, some 3,500 tourists are missing; among them 1,500 Swedes (!), 440 Norwegians and 200 Fins. Among the killed tourists in Thailand are 54 Swedes, 49 Germans, 43 Brits, 36 Koreans and 9 Dutch.
Rick van Opbergen
According to UN coordinator Elmquist, the death toll on Sumatra, in Atjeh, can rise to "somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000". He claimed that as many as 40,000 people in the city of Meubolah, a coastal city in Atjeh of 120,000 people, had died because of the tsunami. The Red Cross also fears that there have been many people killed on the Indian Andaman and Nicobar islands. The Swedish government fears as much as one thousand Swedes have died because of the tsunami. That for the latest updates.
Rick van Opbergen
For some useful information you can use the following links:

BBC (external - login to view)

CNN (external - login to view)

Lankaweb (external - login to view)
- For the latest news about Sri Lanka

For people who are searching for relatives or friends:
Phuket Hospital (Thailand) (external - login to view)
Rick van Opbergen
Wave Toll 'Could Exceed 100,000'
December 29th 2004 (external - login to view)
Rick ... I think it was you that posted the pic of the little boy. I just heard on CNN that he was recognized by relatives because of the internet pic and reunited with his father. The mom is still missing.
Paranoid Dot Calm
Yuh know;

All this talk on the news about water and waves is gettin' to me.

I went and got myself a glass of water this morning and I was so paranoid, I had to sneak up on it.

Just the Facts
Quote: Originally Posted by Paranoid Dot Calm

Yuh know;

All this talk on the news about water and waves is gettin' to me.

I went and got myself a glass of water this morning and I was so paranoid, I had to sneak up on it.


Thanks for the comic relief, I needed that!!

Still laughing.

Rick van Opbergen
Quote: Originally Posted by Cosmo

Rick ... I think it was you that posted the pic of the little boy. I just heard on CNN that he was recognized by relatives because of the internet pic and reunited with his father. The mom is still missing.

Yes, I've heard that. His grandmother and an uncle were eventually reunited with him, and not so long after that he was also reunited with his dad and his grandfather. I do hope his mom is OK, would be great for the boy.

Meanwhile, the death toll has risen to 116,000.
Hi ... What I thought was odd was I heard this morning on the radio station that I listen to that none of the animals where kill , How is it that they all made ?? Or was I misunderstood ??
I heard the same thing Snooker...what they said was that it was as if the animals knew something bad was going to happen, as they didnt see as many dead animals as people. Many think animals have a "sixth sense" about such things to sense when an earthquake or any other natural disaster is about to happen. If only someone had seen this one comming
Rick van Opbergen
Did Sri Lanka Animals Know Tsunami Was Coming?
December 29th 2004, (external - login to view)

Landmines Risk After Flooding In Sri Lanka
December 29th 2004, (external - login to view)

Hopes Fade For Missing Europeans
December 31th 2004, BBC (external - login to view)

The Dutch prime minister declared yesterday that there are 470 Dutchmen of whom the government does not know where they are.
Paranoid Dot Calm
So, is New Years arriving one millionth of a second earlier?
How do I turn my clock back a millionth of a second?

Quake's power speeds up earth's rotation and shortens our days
By Kevin Schofield
December 30, 2004

The Earth’s rotation may have been permanently accelerated by the force of the Asian earthquake, scientists said last night, as it emerged that the tsunamis created by it were the deadliest great waves in more than a century.

Richard Gross, a geophysicist with NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory in California, said that a shift of mass towards the Earth’s centre had caused the planet to spin one millionth of a second faster and to tilt about an inch on its axis.

He added that when one huge tectonic plate beneath the Indian Ocean was forced below the edge of another, "it had the effect of making the Earth more compact and spin faster". Days will get shorter by a fraction of a second, Mr Gross said, although the effects are probably too small to be detected by hi-tech global positioning satellites that monitor changes in the Earth’s spin.

The poles travel a circular path that normally varies by about 33ft, so an added wobble of an inch is unlikely to cause long-term effects. "That continual motion is just used to changing," Mr Gross said. "The rotation is not actually that precise. The Earth does slow down and change its rate of rotation."

When those tiny variations accumulate, planetary scientists must add a "leap second" to the end of a year, something that has not been done in many years, he added.

It emerged yesterday that the death toll from the tsunamis has surpassed that resulting from the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano near Java in 1883. The eruption caused waves that claimed the lives of more than 36,000 people.

Over the centuries, Japan has been the land most plagued by tsunamis, with at least 66,000 deaths recorded since AD684.

The earliest tsunami-type wave was described as hitting the northern Aegean Sea in 479BC. However, historians believe an eruption of the Santorini volcano in the Aegean in 1500BC caused a tsunami that brought devastation to the eastern Mediterranean and Crete.

In 1868, about 25,000 people were killed when a huge wave struck Chile, while up to 1,500 died after a tsunami hit Ecuador and Colombia in 1906.

The largest earthquake of the 20th century, off the coast of Chile in 1960, generated a Pacific-wide tsunami that killed more than 2,000. In 1976, up to 8,000 were killed by a tsunami generated by an earthquake on Mindinao in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, wildlife officials in Sri Lanka yesterday said they believed animals might have sensed the tsunamis were on their way and fled to higher ground before they struck.

Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, who ran a hotel in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s largest wildlife reserve, said: "This is very interesting. I am finding bodies of humans, but I have yet to see a dead animal."

The waves washed floodwater inland to the park, which is home to Asian elephants, crocodiles, wild boar, water buffalo, grey langur monkeys and Asia’s highest concentration of leopards.

"Maybe what we think is true - that animals have a sixth sense," added Mr Wijeyeratne. (external - login to view)
Paranoid Dot Calm
Can CNN, BBC get away with this corpse show in ‘sensitive’ Manhattan?
After 9/11 they chanted privacy, sensitivity; Asian disaster open season to show bodies of men, women, children
By Ashok Malik
December 29, 2004 (external - login to view)
Reverend Blair
My perspective is that they should have been showing bodies during 9-11 etc. I tend not to pay a lot attention to that kind of image, having seen so much of it at this point, but you can bet images like that raise a lot of money/anger...whatever is desired by the broadcaster...whenever disaster strikes.

If you think about the coverage of the Iraq war in the American media, you don't see a lot of bodies. That isn't the message the broadcasters want to send. Same with 9-11. They want to send that message this time raises money for the cause and doesn't have a bad guy. Just as importantly, it happened to "them" not to "us", so we all can feel sorry for those poor primitives because they are so vulnerable and we aren't.

If a tsunami wiped California out tomorrow we wouldn't see bodies on the American networks, but we would see them on the CBC and BBC. If a tsunami wiped out BC, magically stopping at the 49th parallel, we'd see bodies on BBC and CNN, but not on CBC.

That sort of news management should never happen. Get the shots and put them out there. Tell the damned story, tell it in depth, and let the politicians worry about the fall-out.
Paranoid Dot Calm
I thought this was quite a unique storyline.
I never thought of the guys in jail.

I had to post the complete article because the Los Angeles Times is a sign-in site.

Some Inmates Reject Tsunami-Won Liberty
Some escapees are back at a Sri Lankan prison destroyed by waves and are helping rebuild it

By Mark Magnier
January 02, 2005

For the 413 inmates of the prison here, Dec. 26 dawned like any other day. Many were let out of their cells at 6 a.m. for exercise and spent the next several hours milling about the common area. Those housed in cellblocks A and H -- convicted of murder, rape, making bombs, possessing illegal weapons and other serious crimes -- remained in their cells, in keeping with procedures.

From the prisoners' perspective, something miraculous then happened. A wall of water slammed into the building, knocking down one of the 15-foot walls and setting all the inmates free.

"It was as though nature made bail for everyone," said jailer Indika Lasath Kumara, 20, a 6-foot-2 former high school basketball star, who was just wrapping up his 48-hour shift when the deadly tsunami hit.

Something almost as amazing has happened since then. Eighty-three of those who escaped have returned to the prison, knocked on the front door and asked to be returned to their cells. The first inmates came back on the 26th and more have been trickling in since.

Because the prison is no longer secure and both prison buses were damaged by the storm, officials asked the returnees to take the public bus down the road to another jail, and most complied.

None of the returnees are serious criminals; all have relatively short sentences remaining and would rather serve them out and clear their names than face a life on the run, said the head warden, Chandrasiri Karunasekara, 42.

Most of those who have returned used the time away to check on their families and deal with funeral arrangements, guards say.

The government hasn't given up hope that more will meander back and is offering an amnesty period until next Sunday. But the government isn't going to wait forever, guards said, adding that the identities of all those still missing have been passed on to the head office in Colombo, the capital. Still, there is no exact count of how many were killed by the water and how many are just on the lam.

Meanwhile, reconstruction of the facility has begun.

For starters, a fence has been erected where the wall was knocked down. Twenty-eight prisoners have been transferred back to Matara Prison to help with maintenance and reconstruction. As Karunasekara spoke, 16 inmates dressed in white shorts and undershirts rounded a corner and headed back through the main gate after doing work.

With its tall, thick walls and wrought-iron gates, the prison has a colonial feel; it was built 75 years ago by the British. Prisons of one sort or another have been on the site since the 1700s, shortly after the Dutch arrived.

Neighbors in the densely packed community of small lanes and two-story houses immediately abutting the facility, on a peninsula between the Nilwala River and the sea, say they don't fear the convicts.

"The prisoners all helped us, so we're not afraid," said Manori Kulasooriya, 37, a teacher who lives a few doors down. "They helped the whole neighborhood, carried babies through the flood and helped people get on roofs."

A.G. Karunadasa, a 77-year-old living a few doors east of the prison, agreed.

"The way the water came in, the people in jail were affected first," he said, his 28-year-old daughter beside him. "Even as they ran away, however, they stopped to help us."

Guards added that some prisoners, before fleeing, saved the lives of three female jailers who were close to drowning.

Kumara, the guard, had just finished showering and was in his underwear when he heard cries around 9:20 a.m. that water was coming. He went to investigate and was quickly engulfed by a 12-foot wave. Eight inmates who were sweeping the lane outside the prison as part of work duty were crushed to death by the water.

A couple of guards were under a mango tree directly behind the jail. They climbed onto a prison bus parked along the river, and Kumara joined them. The vehicle bobbed around in the swirling water. From their vantage point, they noticed a colleague had fallen into the current. Kumara said he lashed himself to a telephone wire, jumped into the water and reached his colleague. They were both pulled back to safety.

On Sunday, two buses lay inoperable behind the prison, one against the wall with pieces of a guard uniform still visible on the roof, the other wedged beside a small generator building.

At the main entrance, several bales of shiny new barbed wire sat on the floor. Nearby, old sagging foam mattresses were draped over two giant wooden chests. All records in the prison were destroyed by the flood, but jailers were able to recover the more than 50 weapons in the armory.

Kumara said that as he stood atop the bus on the day of the tsunami, he watched hundreds of people float by, screaming for help. The scene was so horrific, he said, that he has trouble sleeping and still doesn't have much appetite. (external - login to view)
Rick van Opbergen
Interesting article Paranoid.
This website has alot of video, some of it has been seen on television. (external - login to view)
Rick van Opbergen
Criminals Target Tsunami Victims
By Kate McGeown, BBC News; January 4th 2005 (external - login to view)

This is just sick I tell ya.

Kidnaps Fears For Lost Tsunami Boy
BBC News; Januart 4th 2005 (external - login to view)

Pictures of destruction at the coast of Atjeh (BBC):

Rick van Opbergen
Somalia Still Waiting For Aid
By Rodrique Ngowi, Canadian Press, January 3th 2005
Reverend Blair
I saw a clip on The National last night and there are other nations with the same problem, although Somalia seems to be the worst hit.

This thing is going to have political ramifications for a long time to come because it is inevitable that some places will feel ignored.
Rick van Opbergen
So far the hardest hit nations seem to be Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, as well as India and the Maldives. But like the article states, also Somalia is waiting for help, while there are reports coming from Myanmar (Burma) that hundreds of people might have been killed there too. The regime however isn't really fond on letting others in to see what's going on. There's only little news about Malaysia, Tanzania, Kenya, the Seychelles and Madagascar, countries that were hit too. I believe that Malaysia is fully capable of dealing with the situation, but if I recall correctly, Madagascar had some problems, with some thousands of people homeless etc. I guess the disaster is just too much, there is too much to report about and I guess that countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand get most of the attention.

Meanwhile, the UN has declared it fears that the death toll will excede the 200,000, and they fear it will even excede the death toll of a big earthquake in China in 1976, during which 240,000 people were killed.
Reverend Blair
Madagascar got a bit of a reprieve...the Sechelles deflected the waves a bit. Not to say that things are good there, just that they could have bee a lot worse.

Myanmar is scary as hell because the scientific data shows them getting hit really hard. The government is basically saying, "No big deal, got it covered," but that's unlikely. More likely is a death toll in the tens of thousands and a bunch of people who are going to die in the next bit. Imagine what Pol Pot would have had done if this had happened to him...that's the basic situation.
Rick van Opbergen
I fear for Myanmar too. Looking at the map, Myanmar is no further from the centre of the earthquake than countries like Sri Lanka and India. It could be the the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have deflected the tsunami a bit, but still, I don't believe that there are only 59 deaths and some 20 missing like the Myanmar regime tells the world.
Just the Facts
Quote: Originally Posted by Rick van Opbergen

Somalia Still Waiting For Aid
By Rodrique Ngowi, Canadian Press, January 3th 2005

Unfortunately, the last bit of that article pretty much sums ups Somalias chances of getting a lot of aid:

The presence of large numbers of anti-aircraft guns owned by local warlords prevented UN officials from flying over parts of the Somali coastline to assess the damage in those areas last week.

I wonder how much warlords are donating to the relief effort?
Rick van Opbergen
Myanmar Tsunami Death Toll Questioned
By Paul Alexander, Associated Press, January 5th 2005 (external - login to view)

I've heard that a possible explanation for the relatively low death toll in Myanmar could also lie in the fact that the country has a lot of natural borders in the sea (coral reefs for example), which deflected the tsunami (as I said earlier) - they said it on the news.

Quote: Originally Posted by Just the Facts

I wonder how much warlords are donating to the relief effort?

I don't know actually. Not much would be logical. It's indeed sad that aid is prevented because of this.
Reverend Blair
They were showing satellite pictures on TV here, Rick. Red was the highest waves and there was a lot of red around Myanmar. The reefs may be close enough to the shore to protect it, but the islands certainly weren't
Rick van Opbergen
You mean the Andaman and Nicobar Islands? I've heard that on one of those islands, only one man out of a total population of sixhundred people had survived the tsunami. Just terrible. It's a good thing that people as well as governments have already donated so much money - already more than 3 trillion euros, that's just great!
I read a story last night about a group of vietnamse buddhists in vancouver are selling their temple which is situated on prime real estate. The price will be in the millions. They are donating the entire sum to the red cross for earthquake victims.
Rick van Opbergen
That's great! Here back in the Netherlands, never ever has so much money been collected - already 64 million euros have been donated to giro account 555 (I consider that to be pretty much for a country of 16 million, 4 euros for every inhabitant), everybody I know has already given some and there have been the "craziest" activities, like a couple who auctioned their wedding clothes for 4,600 euros a day before their wedding and married in jeans and a t-shirt (and donated the 4,600 euros on account 555), I've never seen so many people willing to give money, this evening there is a big TV-show broadcasted on three national channels with dozens of famous Dutchmen, calling up for people to donate even more.
Reverend Blair
The down side of that is starting to hit though. I talked to a guy from the Pediatric AIDS Society (? think that's right)today. They have drugs ready to go to Africa, but are having trouble coming up with the cash to ship them.

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