As more sites are visited by rescuers the death toll from this weekends tsunamis is expected to pass 50,000.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) – Mourners in Sri Lanka used their bare hands to dig graves Tuesday while hungry islanders in Indonesia turned to looting in the aftermath of Asia’s devastating tsunamis. Thousands more bodies were found in Indonesia, dramatically increasing the death toll across 11 nations to around 44,000.
Emergency workers who reached Aceh province at the northern tip of Indonesia’s Sumatra island found that 10,000 people had been killed in a single town, Meulaboh, said Purnomo Sidik, national disaster director at the Social Affairs Ministry.
Another 9,000 were confirmed dead so far in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, and surrounding towns, he said. Soldiers and volunteers combed seaside districts and dug into rubble of destroyed houses to seek survivors and retrieve the dead amid unconfirmed reports that other towns along Aceh’s west coast had been demolished.
More than 18,700 people died in Sri Lanka, more than 4,000 in India and more than 1,500 in Thailand, with numbers expected to rise. The Indonesian vice president’s estimate that his country’s coastlines held up to 25,000 victims would bring the potential toll up to 50,000.For information on how to contribute to relief efforts visit The Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog.
One organization you might want to steer clear of is, ironically, the United Nations. You’re better off making donations through the Red Cross by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW or by picking the International Response Fund on their donation page.