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Homeless tsunami survivors cover their noses from the stench of rotting bodies as they leave the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh, on Wednesday. free video

























Red Cross fears tsunami toll could top 100,000
'Disaster of unprecedented proportion' also brings threat of diseaseNBC News and news services
Updated: 9:49 a.m. ET Dec. 29, 2004BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - The Red Cross said Wednesday it feared the death toll in Sunday's earthquake and tsunamis in the Indian Ocean could top 100,000.

"We're facing a disaster of unprecedented proportion in nature," said Simon Missiri, Asia Pacific chief at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The agency said its current estimate is 77,000, but it fears that could rise.

Workers from Indonesia to India rushed to bury corpses to ward off disease Wednesday as cargo planes touched down with promised aid — from lentils to water purifiers — to help the region cope with the catastrophe.

Chances faded of finding more survivors of Sunday's massive, quake-driven walls of water — probably the deadliest in history.

"We have little hope, except for individual miracles," Chairman Jean-Marc Espalioux of the Accor hotel group said of the search for thousands of tourists and locals missing from beach resorts of southern Thailand — including 2,000 Scandinavians.

Threat of disease
Millions were homeless in the disaster, contending with hunger and the threat of disease, which the U.N. health agency said could double the toll.

SLIDE SHOW


• Tsunamis hit Asia
Click "Launch" to view images from a massive earthquake that hit Asia, sparking deadly tsunamis, killing tens of thousands in 11 countries.


"The initial terror associated with the tsunamis and the earthquake itself may be dwarfed by the longer term suffering of the affected communities," said Dr. David Nabarro, head of crisis operations for the World Health Organization.

He said local hospitals and health services were overwhelmed treating victims of the tsunami and thus less able to cope with people who may fall ill.

Robert Bazell, NBC's chief science correspondent, said the health risk for survivors is twofold.

“There is a shortage of clean water and an enormous amount of water left behind. That’s a recipe for disaster from diseases such as cholera and typhoid, which are spread by fecal material that gets into the water,” he said. “Also, millions are homeless in a very wet situation; that’s a huge potential for the spread of respiratory diseases and other lesser-known diseases which can kill people, especially children.”

In the Indonesian island of Sumatra, nearest the Indian Ocean epicenter of Sunday's calamitous 9.0-magnitude quake that triggered the tsunamis, bulldozers prepared to dig graves for thousands of corpses lining the streets and lawns of provincial capital Banda Aceh.

With the threat of disease on the rise and few ways to identify the dead, there was no choice but to get the bodies under ground, said military Col. Achmad Yani Basuki. "We will start digging the mass graves today," he said.

Thousands more bodies found
The first Indonesian military teams reached the devastated west coast of Sumatra island on Wednesday, finding thousands of bodies.

Town after town along the Sumatran coast was covered with mud and sea water, with homes flattened or torn apart, an Associated Press reporter saw on a helicopter overflight with the military commander of the island’s Aceh province. The only signs of life were a handful of villagers scavenging for food on the beach.

“The damage is truly devastating,” Maj. Gen. Endang Suwarya said. “Seventy-five percent of the west coast is destroyed and some places it’s 100 percent. These people are isolated and we will try and get them help.”

The first military teams reached the devastated fishing town of Meulaboh on Sumatra’s coast, finding some 3,700 bodies — bringing Indonesia’s toll to more than 36,200. That toll was likely to rise as more bodies are found. One official on Tuesday estimated that as many as 10,000 people were dead in Meulaboh alone.

A U.N. official cited by Reuters said the toll from the Indonesia region of Aceh could alone reach 50,000-80,000.

"My mother, no word! My sisters, brothers, aunt, uncle, grandmother, no word!" yelled a woman at a makeshift morgue in Lhokseumawe, Indonesia. "Where are they? Where are they? I don't know where to start looking."




At least 12 Americans were among the dead, and U.S. embassies in the region were trying to track down hundreds more who were unaccounted for.

Amid the devastation, however, there were miraculous stories of survival. In Malaysia, a 20-day-old baby was found alive on a floating mattress and was reunited with her family.

In Thailand, 2-year-old Hannes Bergstroem, who was found dazed and alone after the waves hit, was claimed by an uncle after his photograph was posted on the Internet.

A U.N. agency has said that one-third of the disaster's victims were children.

Related coverage
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Biggest ever relief operation
Aid groups struggled to mount what they described as the largest relief operation the world has seen, and to head off the threat of cholera and malaria epidemics that could break out where water supplies are polluted with bodies and debris.

In addition to the threat of disease, flooding uprooted land mines in Sri Lanka — torn for years by a civil war — threatening to kill or maim aid workers and survivors attempting to return to what's left of their homes.

The world's biggest insurer, Germany's Munich Re, estimated the damage to buildings and foundations in the affected regions would be at least $13.6 billion.

Donations for recovery efforts came in from all parts of the globe.

The governments of the United States, Australia and Japan pledged a combined $100 million while taxi drivers in Singapore put donation tins in their cars and volunteers in Thailand text-messaged aquaintances to give blood to the Red Cross.

President Bush said Wednesday the United States would offer support to help the victims.

Speaking at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, the president rejected criticism of U.S. efforts.

Earlier this week, Jan Egeland, the U.N. official overseeing the relief effort, suggesting America was being “stingy” by only making an initial pledge of $15 million in aid.

Bush said Egeland was "very misguided and ill-informed."


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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,000

Tsunami toll soars to 114,000
Indonesia sharply hikes official count; aid efforts run into obstacles

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - The confirmed death toll from the weekend earthquake and tsunami in south Asia soared sharply to 114,000 on Thursday as the Indonesian government announced that nearly 80,000 people had died in that country alone.

The increase in Indonesia’s death toll to 79,940 – an increase of 27,940 from its previous tally — was due to new bodies being uncovered on Sumatra, which was closest to the epicenter of Sunday's quake, according to Health Ministry official Kardino.

The spiraling death count came as efforts to get aid to survivors foundered.


whole story
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,000

I'm starting to think that some people are going to blame the US for not sending "enough" aid fast enough and that the death toll is somehow our fault. Indonesia is predominantly muslim. Is the arab/muslim world rushing aid there?
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

It amazes me is that at a time like this, with a scale death that completely dwarves events like 9/11, the thing that some people are most concerned about is relatively petty things like what somebody might say about the US.

Most of the world stood by the US in compassion when 9/11 happened. Now show some class and do the same instead of thinking just of yourself and whining about irrelevant things.
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

[ QUOTE ]
Haru said:
It amazes me is that at a time like this, with a scale death that completely dwarves events like 9/11, the thing that some people are most concerned about is relatively petty things like what somebody might say about the US.

Most of the world stood by the US in compassion when 9/11 happened. Now show some class and do the same instead of thinking just of yourself and whining about irrelevant things.

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Haru-
Difference being that we didn't come out at the UN and call the rest of the world "stingy" or blame them for not warning us about 9/11. The US has always shouldered the lion's share of the economic burden in global aid and likely always will. I don't side with the isolationists or those that call for the rest of the world to come to our aid when disaster strikes. Sh!t, I'm not even saying they need to say thanks. But have the f*cking decency to realize who is pulling your fat from the fire, and accept whatever help is given graciously! :flame:
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

[ QUOTE ]
f2benny said:
I'm starting to think that some people are going to blame the US for not sending "enough" aid fast enough and that the death toll is somehow our fault. Indonesia is predominantly muslim. Is the arab/muslim world rushing aid there?

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I'd be interested in learning that as well. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Dubhai, etc. have HUGE amounts of wealth. Are they stepping up to save their muslim brothers, or do they feel that money is better spent supporting suicide bombers?
FYI...Indonesia is the world's most populous muslim country.
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

[ QUOTE ]
justinv said:
[ QUOTE ]
f2benny said:
I'm starting to think that some people are going to blame the US for not sending "enough" aid fast enough and that the death toll is somehow our fault. Indonesia is predominantly muslim. Is the arab/muslim world rushing aid there?

[/ QUOTE ]
I'd be interested in learning that as well. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Dubhai, etc. have HUGE amounts of wealth. Are they stepping up to save their muslim brothers, or do they feel that money is better spent supporting suicide bombers?
FYI...Indonesia is the world's most populous muslim country.

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I think this shows that the Islamic bond is not nearly as strong as many people would like you to think. The Middle-eastern terrorists are bonded much more by culture than they are by religion. Since they share the same cultural background, they are practicing the same brand of Islam. They are completely culturally different than the people of Indonesia. Even thought they are Islamic, that is the only similarity they share.

The middle-eastern jihad seems much more inspired by culture than religion. While the religion is part of the culture, it is also highly modified to fit the culture. Use the example of Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox. While technically both Christian, there differences are mainly based on the culture and the region of the practicing people.

From this arguement, I'd say that Middle-easterners identify very little with their Islamic brothers in Indonesia. My two cents.
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

I don't expect the US to give anything. I appreciate what it does give. I can understand that it can't give much right now considering its huge deficits and the dumb, expensive war its gotten itself into. Whatever folks can give out to help is good, and if the US is limited in this instance thats cool with me.

That is not the issue.

My issue is that at the horrible time like this, some people are more hurt by what that UN guy said than they are by what has happened in Asia. You're more upset by and obsessed with the comments and attitudes of some officials at the UN than you are by the death and destruction that has occured. It makes you look shitty. It makes you look selfish and self centered. You want to look like that, thats cool with me too.

I'm done listening to you fellows piss and moan about bullshit at a time like this. MY sincere thanks to W for the pledge he has made, my thanks to the US taxpayers who will foot the bill, and my thanks to private US donors and the efforts of private US entities involved in aid and relief efforts.

I am going to get involved and try to raise some donations here for one of the relief funds.

you can carry on moaning about politics for all I care.
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

Yeah go save the world for us fools that think the nations of the world ought to kiss our asses for everything we do for them. They happily, nay greedily, consume any and all aid that we give them. They complain angrily that we do not do enough for them. But when it's time to hate the US, conspire with our enemies, directly plot against us, or refuse to aid us when we are in need, then the line is out the door. I'm suprised that the Islamic world has not condemned the US or Israel for creating the tsunami yet, though I have no doubt that they will in time.
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

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[ It makes you look selfish and self centered.

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I don't mean to come off as seflish and self-centered. It is just that I am, so I do.
:bird: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

[ QUOTE ]
Haru said:
It amazes me is that at a time like this, with a scale death that completely dwarves events like 9/11, the thing that some people are most concerned about is relatively petty things like what somebody might say about the US.

Most of the world stood by the US in compassion when 9/11 happened. Now show some class and do the same instead of thinking just of yourself and whining about irrelevant things.

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Or perhaps we're disgusted that a bunch of self-aggrandizing arrogant no-name a$$Holes have the f*cking GALL to use 100,000+ dead bodies as a pulpit to whine about the US (which have given more than anyone else...) in order to further their political careers.


It's not like what we got from the world after the Cali earthquakes, Mississippi river floods, and 9/11 amounted to no more than lip service, or anything... :rolling:

Nice choice of words, by the way "Most of the World Stood By." Concise, Accurate, and to the point. I like it.


Scott :smirk:
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

Here's an interesting article I found:

CLICK IT!!!


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IT'S ABOUT THE TRAGEDY - NOT MORE BUSH-BASHING

THE political and ideological exploitation of perhaps the worst natural disaster in all our lifetimes is almost beyond belief — were it not for the fact that nothing these days is beyond belief.
Even as tears spring into the most hard-hearted person's eyes at both the unimaginable scope of the tragedy and at the wrenching individual stories of loss, opinion leaders just can't help themselves.
They are using this cataclysm as little more than cheap debate fodder about the nature and character of the United States, its president and its citizens.

Don't misunderstand.

It is fine and proper to have a debate and discussion about the degree of generosity the United States could, should and must show in the wake of this literally earth-shaking event.

But at this moment, the United States is not the issue.

The foreign-aid budget of the United States is not the issue.

Our government should not be the focal point of the discussion right now.

Don't we owe the dead, dying and injured the minimal grace not to convert their suffering into a chat-show segment — the latest left-right clash over the Bush presidency?
And couldn't the editorialists at The New York Times have forborne — even just for a week — making use of the tsunami to complain about U.S. government spending on "development aid"?
Development aid is the blanket term for American grant money handed out to other countries, supposedly to help their economies grow. Development aid has nothing — nothing — to do with what has happened.

The aid at issue now is disaster relief.

Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) found himself in the position of having to remind the world that over the past four years the United States has provided more such aid than all other nations on the planet combined.
It is appalling that he had to mention this, and that President Bush (news - web sites) was compelled to cite the same information on Wednesday, because you're not supposed to brag about how charitable you are. But once a United Nations (news - web sites) official decried the American aid pledge as "stingy," the administration had little choice.
Any rational person would have understood without having to be told what the president told the world on Wednesday morning, which is that the $35 million pledge "is only the beginning of our help."
But maybe people are looking for a sideshow to distract them from the sickening pictures and the keening cries of the untold numbers of mothers whose babies were swept away.


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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

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.... the president told the world on Wednesday morning, which is that the $35 million pledge "is only the beginning of our help."


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Only the begining indeed; try $350 Million.
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

On the news last night while i was at the store it said "how much is too much." That made me kinda frustrated in know that 100,000 people were killed from somthing nobody could help and people in the press/govt *i dont know* are saying when can we stop. I am proud of people like Jackie Chan who gave 50,000+ and Chow Yung Fat who have showed personal support. I dont have much money but I'm glad I can give them all my prayers.
 

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Re: tsunami death toll @ 77,000 and est. to 100,00

[ QUOTE ]
MonsterJ said:
Only the begining indeed; try $350 Million.

[/ QUOTE ]
U.S. Boosts Tsunami Aid Tenfold to $350M

The United States is pledging $350 million to help tsunami victims, a tenfold increase over its first wave of aid, President Bush announced Friday.

France has promised $57 million, Britain has pledged $95 million, Sweden is sending $75.5 million and Spain is offering $68 million, although that pledge is partly in loans.


The final numbers on all of this will be very interesting indeed...
 
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