March 28, 2005

Earthquakes and Tsunamis

The following is a repost of an article I posted at Sortapundit on December 26th, before beginning my guest-posting at the Command Post. It regards the mechanics behind the generation of tsunamis by tectonic events.

My professional opinion is that there will be no major tsunamis generated by this earthquake or any of its aftershocks. It has already been reported that there has been slight tsunami and high water activity, but nothing serious as of yet.

The following is an unedited copy of the original, with only Dec. 26th specific information removed.

It occurs to me that the general public learn much of what they know about tsunamis from Hollywood movies like The Day After Tomorrow - movies that tend to sacrifice fact for spectacular effects. I’m no expert, but I might as well use my soapbox to straighten out a few facts.

To begin, the tsunamis were a symptom of an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale. To give you some sort of idea of the power released during a quake of this magnitude, it’s equal to about 32 billion tons of TNT. As residents of LA will be aware, the Richter scale is a base-10 logarithmic scale, which means that an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the scale will release many times more energy than an 8.0 quake.

The quake occurred just off the south coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where the Eurasian and Indo-Australian tectonic plates meet. Those of you who have a firm grasp of plate tectonics can skip over the next paragraph, but for the rest of you…

As you probably know, the surface of the earth is made up numerous sections known as tectonic plates. These plates effectively float on the dense, hot asthenosphere, a layer of the mantle in which the rock is hot enough to become pliable - to be able to deform without fracturing.

Now, these tectonic plates move incredibly slowly - usually less than a few centimetres every year, and it’s where they meet each other that we get problems. The Eurasian plate and the Indo-Australian plate meet each other at Sumatra. The Indo-Australian plate is being forced underneath the denser Eurasian plate at a rate of about 6cm each year at the Java Trench (here is a simplified animation of the process). The movements of the two plates are what cause earthquakes. The stresses caused by the two plates scraping together force pressure to build in the rock until it discharges all at once, literally snapping. The faultline slips perhaps 10-15m, causing the displacement of huge volumes of water. 15 metres doesn’t sound like much, but you have to realise that this is 15 metres movement over maybe 1,000km of plate margin.

The displaced sea water travels at speeds of up to 500mph, effectively invisible to the naked eye. The crest of the waves will only be a few feet high in open water, the only visible sign of the enormous volume of water speeding along under the surface.

The momentum of the waves means that they can travel vast distances with little loss of energy. The 1960 earthquake off the coast of Chile created a tsunami that had enough energy to travel 10,000 miles in 22 hours until it hit land in Japan, killing about 150 people. Update - the Sumatran tsunami has now crossed almost 3,000 miles of ocean, killing at least 9 people in Somalia.

As the waves approach land, and the sea floor rises, the water slows dramatically as the waves compress like an accordion, forcing them to pile up vertically. They draw water from the coastline, creating powerful undercurrents that can drag swimmers out to sea. The tsunamis don’t break like normal waves, but simply hit the coast like walls of water, destroying buildings, tossing boats into the air like toys, and smothering those who have been unable to escape under unimaginable volumes of water.

It’s folly to think of a tsunami as just a large wave. It’s much more accurate to imagine that it is an extension of the sea, conquering the land and pushing back the coastline, in some cases by hundreds of metres. The 1993 tsunami at Okushiri, Japan reached 32m in height - the same as an 8-storey building. You can’t hide from that, and you sure as hell can’t try to swim to the surface. All you can do is run.

Some of us have a head start. I wrote my dissertation on the gap in preparedness and aid for earthquakes between the developed and developing world and, tragically, most of the nations affected by today’s disaster have laughable warning systems. It’s been several years since I’ve looked into the subject but, last time I looked, India’s method of saving lives following tsunamis was to build refuges on stilts. Their warning system consisted of rusting air raid sirens from WW2. I hope they’ve improved in the last 5 years, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

The Pacific, in comparison, is relatively well-prepared for tsunamis. Underwater sensors can alert us to approaching tsunamis, giving people living on the Pacific Rim adequate time to find high ground or flee inland. Unfortunately, such systems are not widely used in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal due to the cost of installing and monitoring the sensors, and the relative rarity of tsunamis.

Posted by Keith Taylor at 02:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 21, 2005

Update on Southern India

The tsunami has seemingly passed from the media radar (aside from the places that George 41 and Bill 42 are visiting), but for those interested, you can read a first-hand account of what one small group was able to accomplish. There is also more here.

(Disclaimer: The subject of this post is my wife)

Posted by Matthew at 09:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2005

Earthquake near Sumatra

Near the tsunami source the earth is still shaking.

Posted by Oskar van Rijswijk at 02:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 27, 2005

Alleged Friction with UN, NGO's on board US carrier

From Soldiers For The Truth, a report allegedly from an Anonymous Officer serving on board the USS Lincoln :

It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged their coastline. I’d like to say that this has been a rewarding experience for us, but it has not: Instead, it has been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise made even more difficult by the Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called aid workers who have invaded our spaces.
As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of “Nice china, really makes me feel special,” in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives.

Click to Read The Whole Thing, but bear in mind the source is unverified and (being anonymous) not independantly verifiable.

Posted by Alan Brain at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 22, 2005

Photoblogging Southern India

My wife and the team she is with are finally back within internet range and have sent the first batch of pictures from Tamilnadu. Fr. Leo Michael writes:

In the village of Seruthur, the destruction was especially devastating. Villagers, with fear and hopelesness in their eyes sat in the middle of what was left of their homes...maybe one half of a wall, or a few remnant bricks from the foundations remained. Massive chunks of homes seemed to have been chewed off by the giant wave and spat out in another area. The villagers cried when they shared their stories of loss--life, home, livelihood. Most of the villagerís homes were wiped out. Kids fished debris out of the sea--pieces of metal they planned to haul into town in hope of getting some small change. Tiny sandals, schoolbooks, clothes, bricks and so much debris littered the seashore. Coconut trees were uprooted. A water pump stood 30 feet in the air; it was exposed where otherwise earth would have covered it to its handle. Boats were smashed in pieces miles from the shoreline.

In Nambiar Nagar, the starting point of tsunamis fury, we came upon a group of about a dozen men sitting in the remnant of a tsunami destroyed boat. When they saw us with our cameras, they made comments that many have come to take pictures, but no one has helped them. One man said, "We have no tears left to cry." Nearly each man had lost his mother or father, wife or a child. All lost their livelihood, as the wreckage of boats, strewn all over the village gave witness to their plight.

The picture below is about one-fifth of the harbor in Naggapatinam. This was taken some three weeks after the tsunami. All of the pictures can be viewed here.

Posted by Matthew at 11:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 20, 2005

Grassroots Relief in Tamilnadu

While the Indian government is making the news for their outreach to Sri Lanka and other countries in the wake of the disaster, some areas of their own country have been largely ignored.

With roughly .002% of the $23 million pledged by India to the reconstruction of Sri Lanka, three people (Full Disclosure: One of them is my wife) who traveled to Tamilnadu from Arkansas have accomplished everything from setting up trust funds for 100 children to replacing fishing boats, motors and nets for villages that lost everything. They’ve also set up accounts that local businessmen can borrow against that will allow them to restart their businesses and, more importantly, reemploy the workers who right now cannot support their families. One of the relief lessons learned has been that it’s not so important how much money you have to spend, but how you spend it.

Another thing that has been striking is the complete lack of religious tension. In an area inhabited by Hindus, Moslems and Christians they have seen no evidence of trouble between the communities. They’ve delivered aid in villages of all three faiths with no problems and have received the same, very warm, reception from all.

More details can be found here

Posted by Matthew at 01:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2005

First Hand Report - Tamilnadu, India


Velankanni (TN): The pilgrimage town of Velankanni in Nagapattinam district, that used to be flooded with devotees from across the country, today wears a deserted look! With roofless and broken shops on either side of the road and debris strewn all over the beach, this coastal town is now a far cry from what it used to be two weeks back.
Around 650 people lost their lives and 961 went missing when the killer tsunami struck Velankanni, the day after Christmas. Majority of those missing are pilgrims who had come to renowned Velankanni Mother Mary shrine, one of the most famed Christian pilgrimage centres in South India.

I just received a call from my wife, who is staying in Velankanni, that certainly confirms this and worse. There are stacks of fishing boats that she says look like someone knocked over a stack of dominoes. Shelter, however is the most pressing problem. At the ophanage they visited today, there is a concrete pad in the courtyard where entire families are sleeping. No bedding, no cover. As the above linked story states and they have confirmed, the government is not paying benefits to the families of the missing. Only those who can show proof, such as a picture of the body. This can be difficult as many were simply swept out to sea. They are, however, still finding bodies on a daily basis, but the state of decomposition would probably preclude identification.

Posted by Matthew at 08:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 15, 2005

First Hand Report - Tamilnadu, India

My wife, our Rector and his wife are now on the ground in India. I am receiving updates via phone and email from them and will hopefully have some pictures and maybe even video soon.

Our Rector is a native of Bangalore and spent twenty years as a priest working in the fishing villages along India’s eastern coast. The relief effort is being targeted towards two orphanages that were devastated in the disaster, and the surrounding community.

At last report, they are on the road between Chennai and Naggapatinam near Cuddalore, and the visible signs of the tsunami increase the father south they travel. Those they’ve been in contact with in Naggapatinam say that very little aid has made it to the area, beyond potable water.

I will post further reports as I receive them and you can get more details here.

Posted by Matthew at 11:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 12, 2005

First Person Report from Banda Aceh

Via the blog Argghhh!, ( and a Hat Tip to EagleSpeak, a blog by a retired USNR Captain, ie 1-step-below-Admiral) “the following is a letter from a member of the USS Abraham Lincoln off Indonesia who is aiding in the relief effort.” :

I just spent three days ashore at Banda Aceh working to assist all of those in dire need in Indonesia. I thought you might like to hear what we have been doing.

Stationed aboard the Abraham Lincoln we were in port [at] Hong Kong on the morning of 26 Dec when we heard of the massive earthquake and devastating Tsunamis in the Bay of Bengal. As soon as we were aware of the horrible destruction we departed Hong Kong and headed South at best speed - without any official request from governments.

As we proceeded, we were completely unaware of what we could do or even if we would be needed, but we continued through the Strait of Malacca enroute to Indonesia and Thailand. Our mission was quickly defined and we were tasked to assist Indonesia as best [and] as able. To do so we requested volunteers aboard the ship to assist. The response as you can imagine was overwhelming as all sailors want to do is help any way possible. We also knew that this would be a job for the SH-60 Helicopters we have aboard.

We arrived off the north shore of Indonesia on the morning of January 1st. I was in the first wave of helos sent ashore to establish a logistical hub and move supplies from Banda Aceh airport - only a few miles from the destroyed north coast of the island. Not knowing what to expect as we lifted off the deck, we were quickly given a glimpse as we could see numerous corpses floating in the water. There were large clusters of debris that looked like one time houses floating in piles scattered all over the ocean. As we approached the decimated shore we saw a cargo ship that was at least 300 feet long capsized on the beach. Proceeding further inland we were amazed that the coastal town was gone. You could see outlines of where foundations once were, but as the earthquake shook them loose, the Tsunamis washed everything out to sea. As we continued inland, the devastation was evident more than 2 miles from the coast. We then approached very green and lush mountains - a sharp contrast to the leveled brown terrain of the decimated coast. We climbed in the helos over these 2,000 foot peaks and entered an area of surreal, beautiful countryside. We arrived at the airport to a scene of confusion and near chaos. Six days after the disaster and there was no infrastructure in place to assist these people. About 500 displaced Indonesians who had survived had made their way to the airport in search of a flight out of the area - southeast to the safe havens of Medan or Jakarta where there is little or no damage. Upon arrival, there was one only other American military member at the airport - an Army Major who had made his way up from the Embassy in Jakarta. A few Australians were already there and had set up a basic logistics hub to accept supplies. The Indonesian military had a base here as well and were accepting supplies but had no way other than trucks which could not travel on the destroyed roads to move the food and water.

Being a Prowler pilot with NO helicopter flying abilities, I was sent in to be the Carrier Air Wing Two liaison to move supplies. Realizing there was no one to liaise with, myself and my squadron mate, Lt _________ became the primary coordinators to make this relief effort happen. Arriving at 0900, we were able to coordinate with the Indonesians and the NGO’s (Non-Government Organizations), and within an hour have our first load of relief supplies moving down the west coast. The two primary NGO’s, USAID and IOM (International Organization of Migration) have been invaluable in the establishing of assistance. They have a small medical tent with trained doctors capable of triaging and stabilizing patients. USAID has amazing logistical support to gather supplies from all over the world. The one thing both of these organizations lacked was the ability to distribute supplies to the people in need. That is were we came into play.

We have set up a system now to have twelve of our Helicopters flying from sunrise to sunset to assist. We have been carrying everything from biscuits, rice, noodles, milk, water and medical supplies. We transport doctors and medical staff as well. The Indonesian people are in need of everything. Their homes along the coast have been washed away and we are finding them wondering aimlessly with no ability to acquire food, water or badly needed medical assistance. They all lack the ability to communicate as all phone lines are destroyed and there is no electricity. As our pilots drop off these supplies there are stories of the Indonesians hugging them with relief and joy. Our pilots then fly North to return back to Banda Aceh for resupply and they are finding small pockets of personnel who do not have any aid. They are able to pick many of them up and fly them to Banda Aceh. Most are near death. Yesterday we had a helo land with seven badly injured or dehydrated personnel all in critical condition. One was a seven year old little girl. The doctors told me we saved her life as she would not have lived through the night. I couldn’t help but think of my beautiful daughters and it was then that I realized the gravity of what we really were doing.

We will continue this effort as long as we are needed. It is difficult to imagine shifting back to fixed wing flight ops and leaving the area any time soon as the work to be done is almost insurmountable. We have been working hard with the hordes of press who badly need to tell this story. I enlisted the support of my squadron mate, LCDR __________ to specifically deal w/the media. With every flight or two that we send down the coast, we embark a two man journalist team, as well as member of the IOM to coordinate with any injured or displaced persons who need our help. Yesterday we hosted Dan Rather and his CBS crew for a 60 minutes evening magazine special he was doing that should air sometime this week in the states. I had breakfast with Mr. Rather aboard the carrier as we discussed the days’ events and what he would like to see. He and his staff’s graciousness and professionalism impressed me. We have flown Mike Chinoy from CNN and correspondents from all the major US and international networks and newspapers. If something is coming from Banda Aceh, the US Navy has helped them get their story.

I must say a few words about the volunteer effort here - it is truly an effort of amazement. I see on the news the incredible outpouring of support from the US - it is a wonderful and necessary thing. The effort here at sea is equally as impressive. These young sailors are all extremely eager to get ashore and do whatever is needed despite the threat of disease and the obvious destruction. My squadron alone has already put numerous sailors ashore to assist with the loading and moving of the helos. I have never been so proud to be a member of the US military. We often are focused on keeping the peace and deterring evil acts. To now be able to have a direct impact in saving lives and attempt to rebuild a society is a testament to the United States’ amazing resolve and capabilities. I thank you all for your efforts and your support. Please continue to keep the Indonesians in your thoughts and prayers. As of today this country alone is approaching 100,000 deaths from this disaster- we need to do all that is possible to mitigate any further suffering or loss of life.

Posted by Alan Brain at 09:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2005

Send the Marines

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The United States military has stepped up its relief effort for victims of the tsunami in Indonesia.

For the first time, US marines have set foot in Meulaboh on Aceh’s west coast, bringing much-needed supplies.

Just hours after a US helicopter crashed, suspending delivery of aid to the isolated town of Meulaboh, 300 marines arrived by hovercraft with water, rice, and timber.

More marines are expected to arrive in the next two days, along with engineers.

They will also bring heavy machinery to help rebuild the devastated town, which lost almost 30,000 of its residents.

Emphasis added by me. See Op-Ed article about the significance of this.

Posted by Alan Brain at 11:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Islamist Group Banned from Aceh Airport

Updating a previous post, from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The Indonesian military has banned an Islamic militant group from offering aid to refugees at Banda Aceh’s main airport.

The leader of Indonesian Mujahedin Council, also known as MMI, is the radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, currently on trial in Jakarta on terrorism charges.

The council was one of many groups offering aid at Banda Aceh airport.

It agreed to leave the site at the request of the Indonesian Army, which wants to rearrange its airport operations.

Bashir is facing the death penalty for his alleged involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings and an attack on a hotel in Jakarta in 2003.

A spokesman for MMI says the organisation was not interested in causing trouble with foreign groups and was only intent on helping with relief efforts.

Posted by Alan Brain at 11:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Indonesian Toll May hit 130,000

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Authorities in Indonesia now believe as many as 130,000 people were killed in the Boxing Day tsunamis.

More than 2,500 bodies are now being recovered daily from the wreckage of what remains of the worst devastated area of Banda Aceh.

More than 30,000 bodies have been pulled out so far.

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare, Alwi Shihab, has announced that between 80,000 and 130,000 people are thought to have died in the country’s Aceh province.

A true figure may never be known.

Mr Shihab says as many as 450,000 other people have also become refugees in their own country.

They are officially known as internally displaced persons.

Meanwhile, a convoy of trucks has set out from the Indonesian capital Jakarta for a 2,500-kilometre overland trip to the northern tip of Sumatra.

The area was one of the worst hit by the tsunami and tens of thousands of survivors are still in desperate need of help.

Bill Hyde from the International Organisation for Migration, which is organising the aid convoy, says the airport facilities in Banda Aceh cannot cope with the load.

The volume of international relief aid that’s come into Jakarta has simply overwhelmed the air coordinator,” he said.

The number of flights that are flying up to Banda Aceh and the region are more than the airports can handle at any time.

“So as the aids [are] backing up and the need there’s great, we had to include overland convoys as well.

See Op-Ed page for technical analyses of why the death toll may never be known, the bottlenecks in reticulating aid, and an in-depth analysis of Banda Aceh airport capability.

Posted by Alan Brain at 09:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 09, 2005

U.S. Helicopter With 10 Aboard Crashes in Banda Aceh

A U.S. helicopter with 10 people on board crashed near the Banda Aceh airport Monday while on a tsunami-relief operation, a U.S. military spokesman said.

It was not yet known if anybody was killed or injured, said Joe Plenzler, a U.S. military spokesman in Medan, 250 miles southeast of Banda Aceh.

The SH60 helicopter ) crashed in a rice paddy about 500 yards from the airport in Banda Aceh, the main city on Indonesia’s tsunami-battered Sumatra island, as it was trying to land, he said.

Read more…

Update: The Fox story now says least two U.S. servicemen were injured in the crash.

Posted by Michele at 09:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 08, 2005

Tsunami survivor found in Sri Lanka

After 13 days trapped under the rubble of a seaside shop, a man believed to be in his 60s Saturday was rushed to a hospital in the southern Sri Lankan city of Galle, able only to mumble his name.

Doctors at Karapitiya Hospital said he is suffering from pneumonia and severe hydration, but will certainly live.

“Miracles do happen,” Dr. Chandra Pala Mudanngake said.

He was found around 3 p.m. (4 a.m. ET) in Galle’s market area, which was wiped out by the December 26 tsunami.

Read more..

Posted by Michele at 10:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Aid Triple Telecast in Australia

From The Australian :

Australian commercial television networks put aside traditional rivalries for the first time tonight to simultaneously broadcast a fundraising concert for victims of the Boxing Day tsunami.

Thousands of people gathered at the Sydney Opera House and millions were expected to watch the concert on television as celebrities manned telephones in Melbourne to accept donations for World Vision.

With ratings on hold, personalities from the three major networks, including Nine’s Ray Martin and Eddie Maguire, Ten’s Rove McManus and Seven’s Sunrise team, helped present the two and a half hour event.
By around 7pm AEDT, Australians had donated $1.6 million through telephone and SMS pledges.

A 10-year-old boy donated his $40 Christmas gift, a New Years’ party raised $800, an Australian Navy ship raised $195 and one couple asked guests at their wedding to give donations rather than gifts.

World Vision head Tim Costello said people around the world were saying Australia had set the benchmark for tsunami aid.

For perhaps the first time in our history, Australia actually is so far out in front it’s magnificent,” he said.

For US readers, it’s as if CBS, NBC and ABC all decided to broadcast the same program, with the same presenters, simultanously. Absolutely unprecedented.

Maybe Eurovision might like to do the same, hmm? Yes, that is a challenge.

UPDATE : From The Australian :

World Vision said today the tally from last night’s Reach Out to Asia event had reached $20,116,000 at 2am (AEDT) today. The money was pledged via phone, website and SMS.

However, the $20 million total is expected to climb, with phones remaining open today.

The pledges come on top of more than $120 million in private and corporate donations made to Australia’s aid organisations.

Posted by Alan Brain at 08:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 07, 2005

Latest Figures - 165,000+

From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The number of people killed when an earthquake and tsunamis devastated Indian Ocean coastlines on December 26 has passed 165,000 as more deaths were confirmed.

In Indonesia, which bore the brunt of the disaster, the death toll has climbed to 113,306, the Social Affairs Ministry’s relief coordination centre told AFP on Friday.

The United Nations has warned that tens of thousands more dead may be as yet unaccounted for in Indonesia.

The figure, given by the head of the relief coordination centre, Haji Daeng, raises the number of people confirmed killed in Indonesia by nearly 20,000 from the previous day’s tally of 94,200.

In Sri Lanka, 30,615 were confirmed killed, the Government said. Another 4,356 people were still missing.

In neighbouring India, the official toll stood at 9,995 people confirmed dead, but the number of missing dropped to 5,679, most of them presumed dead.

Interior Ministry figures for Thailand put the death toll at 5,291 - 2,568 Thais, 2,510 foreigners and 213 whose indentity could not be determined.

The number of people listed as missing fell sharply to 3,570 - 1,143 foreigners and 2,427 Thais - down from nearly 3,716, as some people were found to have made reports of missing people at several centres, an official said.

Burma’s Prime Minister Soe Win said on Thursday 59 people were killed in the tsunamis and more than 3,200 left homeless.

This was down from the UN’s estimated 90.

At least 82 people were killed and another 26 were missing in the Maldives, a Government spokesman said.

Sixty-eight people were dead in Malaysia, most of them in Penang, according to police, while in Bangladesh a father and child were killed after a tourist boat capsized in large waves, officials said.

Fatalities also occurred on the east coast of Africa where 298 people were declared dead in Somalia, 10 in Tanzania and one in Kenya.

Posted by Alan Brain at 06:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 06, 2005

"Core Group" To Disband, U.N. Taking Over Tsunami Relief

CNN reports thst U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told donors that the United Nations will take over coordination of tsunami relief and reconstruction efforts from the core group of nations.

Powell announced that the “core group” launched to coordinate tsunami relief efforts was being disbanded:

The group would instead be folded under the United Nations’ oversight of the daunting relief and reconstruction effort, Powell told a conference of tsunami relief donors in the Indonesian capital on Thursday.

U.S. officials had insisted the group — consisting of the United States, Australia, Japan and India — would be complimentary to U.N. efforts.

But those officials now say given the urgent need to improve coordination and reduce confusion in the relief and reconstruction effort, that it was decided the “core group” was no longer necessary.

“The core group helped to catalyze the international response,” Powell said, according to a prepared text released by the State Department.

“Having served its purpose, it will … now fold itself into the broader coordination efforts of the United Nations.”

U.S. President Bush formed the international coalition on December 29 to respond to the massive tsunami that wreaked havoc along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 07:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 05, 2005

Jakarta Summit Opens

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

An emergency summit on the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster has begun in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Even before the presidents and prime ministers had spoken at the meeting, a draft statement on the outcome was already circulating.

It welcomes debt relief for devastated countries and supports an early warning system for tsunamis.

The document also calls for stronger coordination and cooperation of relief efforts.

UPDATE : Well, that was quick. From The Australian :

World leaders have welcomed debt relief for countries hit by the December 26 tsunami disaster, and supported the creation of a tsunami early warning system in a declaration at the end of a crisis summit in Jakarta.
The declaration by delegates of the 26 nations and groups attending the Jakarta summit also requests the UN to mobilise the international community and calls for stronger coordination and co-operation of relief efforts.

The group asked the UN “to convene an international pledging conference for the sustainability of humanitarian relief efforts” and explore establishing a standby arrangement “for immediate humanitarian relief efforts”.
It says resources should be urgently mobilised to meet the emergency relief needs of victims and the affected countries and emphasises the importance of national rehabilitation and reconstruction programs.

The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and related international financial institutions should provide the necessary funds “for the viability and sustainability of those programs”.

The delegates agreed on the establishment of a regional tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia.
The statement also said public education and awareness and participation in disaster prevention and mitigation should be promoted.

Posted by Alan Brain at 11:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NGOs want In on Conference

From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Aid groups have criticised Indonesia for leaving them out of a major summit on the tsunami disaster.

World leaders including Prime Minister John Howard, United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell are all due to attend the one-day meeting in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

But a grouping of non-governmental bodies say deserve the chance to offer input into how to cope with the disaster.

I’m disturbed at not being invited,” Emmy Hafild, secretary-general of Transparency International Indonesia, said.

Since our activists are on the ground, they can give accurate assessment of the situation and how to improve the coordination of aid.

Oxfam Australia policy director James Ensor says it would be useful for major international aid organisations to attend.

Others have been more outspoken, accusing vested interests of hijacking the conference.

Debbie Stothard, a coordinator with the Altsean Burma Group, says participants have closed off the summit to ensure they retain control of incoming aid cash.

This is a big money conference. Governments from affected countries will be interested in securing a share of the resources and it is not in the interest to them to include groups that may provide alternate views or plans,” she said.

Rafendi Djamin, coordinator with Indonesian non-governmental organisation Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy, says he is surprised at being left out in the cold.

It could be that the organisers do not want to hear critical comments,” he said.

It will not stop us [the organisation] from carrying out the humanitarian work.

He says he will head to the Jakarta Hilton conference centre venue to see if his organisation will be allowed to participate, even as observers, at the last minute.

Other activists are vowing to gather outside the conference centre and hold a protest demanding rich nations cancel all debts to affected countries, without imposing any conditions.

Oh Joy, another Protest. That’ll really help.

Posted by Alan Brain at 11:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

UN Warns Against Fighting

From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The United Nations has warned governments and rebel groups in Sumatra, Sri Lanka and Somalia to keep the peace or risk being cut-off from aid to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

We have a message to the parties to the conflicts: Suspend your conflict and work together with us to help your own people,” UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland said.

Peace now prevailed in areas of northern Sumatra’s Aceh province torn by a separatist rebellion; a cease-fire prevailed in the parts of Sri Lanka controlled by the Tamil Tigers separatist movement, and feuding warlords were not fighting in “the better part of Somalia,” Mr Egeland told reporters.

We need that cease-fire, that peace, to hold because if new conflict breaks out, we cannot help the people,” he said.

Posted by Alan Brain at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

U.N. Warns Tsunami Death Toll Could Reach 300,000

Reuters reports the World Health Organization warns that the tsunami death toll could double to about 300,000 unless survivors received clean water and other basic services by the end of the week.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it had sent emergency treatment to the region for diarrheal diseases such as cholera and dysentery but while the aid was reaching many locations, access to safe drinking water remained inadequate.

“If basic needs … are not urgently restored to all populations by the end of this week, WHO fears that outbreaks of infectious disease could result in a similar number of fatalities as occurred due to the direct impact of the tsunami,” the U.N. agency said in a statement on the Internet.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 04:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Indonesia Starts Building Refugee Camps

Indonesia’s government has started breaking ground on four camps around Banda Aceh, the main city in northern Sumatra, for the estimated 1 million people left homeless by the tsunami.

The Associated Press reports that Michael Elmquist, who heads the U.N. relief effort in Aceh said the U.N. plans to provide tents and equipment for up to 500,000:

The existing camps are overcrowded and lack facilities. Indonesian authorities have agreed the new camps will have clean drinking water and latrines, Elmquist said.

“The camps that are here have been improvised by the people themselves,” he said. “But these are definitely not according to our standards. The sanitation is totally insufficient.”

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 08:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shots Fired in Aceh

From The Australian :

The Indonesian military is continuing to wage war with separatist rebels in the hills of Aceh as world leaders put the finishing touches to a multi-billion-dollar aid and investment package for the devastated province.

As international military and medical teams stepped up relief efforts yesterday in Aceh, where the tsunami killed up to 100,000 people, an Indonesian military spokesman confirmed that only two-thirds of the military’s 40,000-strong force in the province was taking part in the relief effort while the remaining third was engaged in military operations against insurgents.
They are still conducting an incessant military operation,” a rebel spokesman, Teuku Jamaika, told The Australian from his base somewhere in the Aceh hills. “There’s no difference between before and after the tsunami.”
Colonel Djazairi Nachrowi, the head of information analysis at the national military headquarters, said there had been no ceasefire, despite an offer from rebel leaders exiled in Sweden to suspend hostilities until Aceh had recovered.

At first we thought positively, that GAM (the Free Aceh Movement) had a conscience, and would not use the situation like this, but it turned out they held up (aid transport),” Colonel Nachrowi said.

We are not offensive, we are defensive.

There had been no outright attacks on the rebels, he said.

Some TNI (Indonesian military) troops tried to escort a truck filled with aid,” he said.

When they were on their way there was an indication they would be held up, so there was an exchange of fire. It’s not TNI attacking GAM, but an exchange of fire because humanitarian aid was held up.

The Colonel has obviously been promoted since his last announcement (the one before finding out that the garrisons had been wiped out) that said something quite different :

“We continue to launch raids into suspected GAM (Free Aceh Movement) areas and our vigilance remains high “

But they’re defensive raids.

Posted by Alan Brain at 04:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Miraculous Escape

From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

r38239_95862.jpgAn Indonesian man has been rescued by a passing ship after surviving for eight days afloat on an uprooted tree floating in the Indian Ocean.

Rizal Shahputra, 23, from the devastated province of Aceh, lived off rainwater and coconuts that floated by.

Apart from some cuts on his legs, he appeared amazingly healthy when he arrived in Malaysia’s western Port Klang aboard a container vessel.

When I saw him I was very surprised,” said Huang Wen Feng, a crew member of the Malaysian cargo ship that picked him up on Monday evening 100 nautical miles out to sea.

He waved at me, he was standing on what look like a tree.

Rizal said he was cleaning a mosque when the tsunami struck his village.

Everybody sank, my family members sank. There were bodies around me,” he told reporters.

Huang, whose ship was returning from South Africa, said Rizal was healthy when picked up and had normal body temperature despite the ordeal, but he was later sent to hospital for checks.

It was the second tsunami rescue by Malaysian ships.

On Friday, a Malaysian tuna-fishing boat rescued a 23-year-old woman from Aceh who had clung on to the trunk of a palm tree for five days after being swept out to sea.

Posted by Alan Brain at 04:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2005

Indian Rescuers Shot At

With Bows and Arrows.

From the BBC via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Dozens of tribespeople, armed with bows and arrows, have fired at an Indian coastguard helicopter dropping food and water over the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

More than 6,000 Andaman and Nicobar islanders are dead or missing and it was feared the tribes had been wiped out.

The Indian coastguard helicopter was flying low over Sentinel Island to drop aid when it came under attack.

Dozens of tribesmen fired bows and arrows at the helicopter, a traditional warning that outsiders are not welcome.

See Op-Ed on the difficulties of counting casualties in the Andaman Islands. This response was not unexpected.

Posted by Alan Brain at 08:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Water Buffalo Closes Aceh Airfield

From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):

r38190_95725.jpgThe main airport in Aceh, which was closed after a cargo plane hit a buffalo, has been cleared and aid efforts have resumed.

Specialised lifting equipment had to be brought in by helicopter from Singapore to remove the cargo plane.

I’m really proud that these people were able to pull this thing out of here in such short time and get this airport back open and ready for business,” US military spokesman Captain Matt Klunder told CNN.

Fortunately we had enough aid and supply gear that we were not set back, tomorrow would have been an horrendous problem,” said Captain Klunder.

Fortunately now we’ve got this movement, we’ve cleared the airport, we will be ready for business, ready to go.

A Boeing 737 cargo plane skidded off the Banda Aceh runway overnight, holding up relief work.

Seven aircraft ferrying 35 medical officers, volunteers and medical supplies from Jakarta were stranded in the Indonesian capital by the accident, although helicopters in Aceh were able to continue to airlift stockpiled aid.

Posted by Alan Brain at 08:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 03, 2005

Elephants Aid Thai Rescue Teams

From The Australian :

Almost a kilometre inland from the Khao Lak beachfront, where the shells of smashed tourist resorts have been meticulously combed by earthmovers and mechanical shovels, two elephants are helping the search for the overlooked victims.

Sood Lho (Handsome) and Phrai Wang (Jungle Palace) are working the banks of a fetid, junk-filled swamp that until Boxing Day was an irrigation dam for surrounding vegetable gardens and rubber trees.

Sood Lho is resting after lifting broken trees and other heavy debris from the body of a young Thai man.

We find them by the smell,” says Kerg-Reut Khaolamai, manager of the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Krual, as the body is bagged and carried out.

Then the elephants clear the way and lift them out. They have not done this kind of work before.
Phrai Wang and Sood Lho were trucked down from Ayutthaya two days ago.

Mr Kerg-Reut says he realised as he watched the news that elephants — even “tourist elephants” like these — could get easily into places where heavy machinery could not.

Two more of his animals were being trucked down to Khao Lak yesterday.

Posted by Alan Brain at 10:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pirate Threat to Aid Getting Through

From The Australian :

The massive Asian tsunami relief operation faces absolute chaos and “a wall of devastation” in Indonesia, as well as the threat of plunder by pirates, relief groups warned yesterday.

As aid logjams began to ease at Asian airports, bursting with hundreds of tonnes of emergency supplies, it was the destruction left by nature that was proving the biggest obstacle to the $US2billion ($2.57billion) relief operation, the biggest since World War II.
Boats are used to deliver relief goods, but pirates are a real concern off the west coast,” the UN Joint Logistics Centre said in a report on tsunami relief operations in Indonesia.
Military forces have swung into rescue mode, with ships, aircraft, and thousands of troops, especially medical specialists, deployed from the US, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, India, Pakistan, China and Japan.

The US alone has sent 12,000 personnel, mainly in a 12-ship naval fleet.

The UN Joint Logistics Centre, setting up operations in Jakarta, said a request for more military aid was likely to include a call for helicopter carriers for Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

It would also need five air-traffic control units and fixed-wing aircraft capable of short take-off and landing and 100 boats or landing craft.

See earlier TCP Op-Ed Article which predicted the need for Air Traffic Control and Helicopters.

I suspect the Royal Thai Navy’s Helicopter Carrier Chakri Nareubet (Princess Royal) may be making an appearance - but as she’s been inactive since the Asian Meltdown due to lack of funds, probably not for a while.

Posted by Alan Brain at 09:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Australian/New Zealand Military Aid

From the Australian Department of Defence :

The ADF [Australian Defence Force] has now committed the following assets and personnel to Operation Sumatra Assist:

In Indonesia

  • 4 C-130 Hercules transport aircraft (plus 1 RNZAF C-130)
  • 2 C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to an air bridge between Australia and Indonesia.
  • 1 Boeing 707 transport aircraft
  • 1 Beech 350 ‘King Air’ light utility aircraft
  • Water purification plant
  • Medical teams
  • Engineering personnel
  • Logistics/loading personnel
In transit:
  • HMAS Kanimbla - ETD Sydney 31/12/04 and then from Darwin 8/1/05 with a planned arrival off Aceh around 14/1/05
    • 2 Sea King helicopters
    • 2 large landing craft (LCM8)
    • Medical facilities and personnel
    • Accommodation
    • Communications
    • Stores
    • Self-sustaining floating base
  • Field hospital (Health Support Company) - ETD Sunday 2 January 2005
    • 55 beds
    • Surgeons
    • Intensive care
    • Resuscitation
    • X-Ray facilities
    • Pathology
  • 4 UH-1H Iroquois helicopters

UPDATE : From the ADF’s News section : As of 2nd December, there are now 7 RAAF C-130’s operating in Indonesia, not 4. The ADF is running a little slow upating their web site.

Posted by Alan Brain at 09:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hero Arrested on Return

From The Australian :

A Gold Coast man hailed a hero for saving more than a dozen people during the tsunami disaster has been arrested on home invasion charges on his arrival back in Brisbane.

The hero’s homecoming for Thomas David Connell turned sour when police detectives greeted the 32-year-old businessman dubbed “the good samaritan of Patong Beach” with handcuffs as he arrived at Brisbane Airport today.

Mr Connell, who earned the title for his rescue role during the tsunami disaster in Phuket, Thailand, was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm while in company and entering a dwelling with intent.

The charges stem from his alleged involvement in a home invasion on the Gold Coast in 2002.

To be a life saver, saving 20 people, and then come back to my own country and I’m going straight into a bloody jail cell with hoodlums all day, I’m not a bloody hoodlum,” Mr Connell told Channel 10.

Police said they recognised Mr Connell, whom they had been hunting for two years, after he’d given a television interview that aired last Monday.

Mr Connell said he spent the day in a watchhouse suffering flashbacks of his ordeal.

It’s mistaken identity, they’ve got the wrong person,” he said.

Posted by Alan Brain at 09:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Darker Side

Amidst all the stories of heroism and humanity by the relief workers, there are some stories showing that we’re a very imperfect species.

From Reuters via The Australian :

Rapists are preying on survivors of Sri Lanka’s deadly tsunamis, taking advantage of lax security at refuge centres for those made homeless in the disaster, a women’s collective said today.

The group urged authorities to immediately improve security at refuge centres and to establish a means for victims to press charges against their assailants.

We have received reports of incidents of rape, gang rape, molestation and physical abuse of women and girls in the course of unsupervised rescue operations and while resident in temporary shelters,” the Women and Media Collective group said in a statement.

From the AFP via The Australian :

A 12-year-old Swedish boy injured in the tsunami that struck South-East Asia may have been kidnapped from a hospital in Thailand, a Swedish newspaper has reported.

Swedish and Thai police are cooperating to find the boy, Kristian Walker, the Expressen reported.

Kristian was here in the hospital. He was taken away by a man,” the paper quoted Kampongsree Somprutthana, a hospital doctor, as saying.

Kristian’s father, Dan Walker, and his grandfather, Daniel Walker, found several witnesses who recognised the boy who mysteriously disappeared from the hospital 30km from Khao Lak, one of Thailand’s worst-hit holiday resorts.

The man he may have left with was described as “European-looking, with a moustache and a red shirt”.
The report comes a day after the Swedish branch of non-governmental organisation Save the Children, Raedda Barnen, warned that children who ended up alone after the natural disaster were potential targets for sexual abuse by pedophiles.
There were already “indications” that surviving children had been sexually abused in Sri Lanka, one of the countries suffering worst from the tsunami, Ms Petri Gornitzka said.

Again, from the AFP via The Australian :

Emails falsely asking for donations for victims of last week’s killer tsunami are doing the rounds in Hong Kong.

Police and charity workers said today the fraudulent messages claims to be from Oxfam and urges donors to deposit money into a bank account in Cyprus, they said.

It was not known whether anybody had been fooled by them, a police spokeswoman said.
Oxfam Hong Kong spokeswoman Christy Ko said the emails were a sick attempt to extort money from people at a time of tragedy.
It was a very badly put together email, I don’t think many people would have been fooled,” she said.

The Evil are often Stupid. Hong Kong is now part of the PRC, and they punish stuff like this with a bullet to the back of the neck - then bill the criminal’s family for the cost of the ammunition.

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Concerns have been raised in Indonesia that children orphaned by the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Aceh are being taken away by unidentified adults claiming to be relatives, or wanting to adopt them.

North Sumatran authorities have assigned Riza Mutiara, the coordinator of the Medan-based Aceh Sepakat non-governmental organisation, to take care of Acehnese children who lost their parents.

Ms Mutiara says that since refugees began flooding into Medan last Tuesday, about 50 children have been taken away by unidentified people.

Last Friday, Raja, a 5-year-old boy who lost his parents in the earthquake was among hundreds of Acehnese on board a Hercules transport plane that landed at an Air Force base in the North Sumatra provincial capital of Medan, where many have taken refuge.

He has become a focus of attention, his story appearing on the front pages of local newspapers in the past few days.

Soon after his arrival, a couple who claimed to be his parents tried to take him away but they were stopped by Ms Mutiara, who noticed that the couple did not look Acehnese.

Suspicious of their intentions, Ms Mutiara put several questions to them.

The man and woman, who were accompanied by another man who replied to most of Ms Mutiara’s questions instead of them, argued they had the right to take custody of the boy.

The conversation soon turned into a quarrel, attracting the attention of a military policeman, who took the couple to his post for questioning.

The man who had accompanied them disappeared.

Under questioning, the couple finally confessed they were not Raja’s parents, but claimed they lived next door to his family.

Ms Mutiara suspected that the couple had in fact been paid by someone, perhaps a member of a child-trafficking syndicate, to collect the child.

UPDATE : From The Australian :

Tasmanian police have announced an investigation into a website that purported to be collecting donations for the Red Cross tsunami fund and carried a postal address in the Hobart suburb of Glenorchy.

The website,, had featured the Red Cross appeal logo, but was inaccessible by late yesterday due to increased web traffic. It claimed to have raised $10,000 for victims of the disaster.

A Red Cross spokesman said the aid group had never heard of Incybernet, nor had the Australian Council for International Development, which maintains a list of all major charities.
Authorities in Singapore and India warned of hoax mobile phone text messages that claimed a “very dangerous virus” was being spread via seafood in the regions affected by the tsunami.

The message read: “Alert everyone: very dangerous virus, Zulican virus is spreading through seafood. So please avoid eating seafood and pass this message to all of your friends.”

But officials said the Zulican virus did not exist and that eating fish in affected regions remained safe.

Australia, unlike the PRC, doesn’t have the Death Penalty. But I think the odds of anyone caught and convicted for this swindle surviving the first year of a prison term with all bits intact are low-to-nonexistent.

Posted by Alan Brain at 09:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 02, 2005

Earthquake: How to Help [Updated 1/1/05]


Please, please check the comments for many more worthwhile charities, organizations and relief drives. I’m having a hard time keeping up with the emails and comments, so scroll through until I have enough time to add them all to this list.

Also, there are people asking about going over to the area to help out - I have no idea where to direct them. If anyone knows who to contact if you want to go there, please leave a note in the comments.

Please check this blog (Tsunami Help) frequently for important phone numbers if you or someone you know are trying to find friend or relatives who are missing in the area.

FYI: A list of international relief organizations and their overhead costs.

Feel free to use our forums to discuss anything related.

  • Sri Lanka: Reliefweb (United Nations office)

To be updated - if you know of any rescources for sending donations, please leave a link in the comments.

Updates - 12/27 7am EST

* Save the Children is creating an Asia Earthquake/Tidal Wave Relief Fund

Thai Red Cross
Siam Commercial Bank - Red Cross Branch
Acct: 045-248899-3

Have your bank use the note section to note that the donation is for Relief in Phuket.

The Thai Ministry of Health is the lead agency, and they are looking for volunteers, especially those who speak Italian, French or German. There is a shortage of medical supplies and storage facilities for bodies.
All donations are appreciated.


Local residents have set up the Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog, which has lots of information on how to help the victims and important phone numbers, as well as updates on the situation.

—-Updates 12/28 6:30 am EST——-

  • The Tamil Association of Colorado is collecting relief funds. Make checks out to: Tamil Association of Colorado. In the memo, write “Tsunami Relief Fund.” Send to: PO Box 270243, Littleton, Co 80127. The organization’s e-mail address is: tamilcolorado@yahoo.comTo donate to the International Red Cross, call 800 HELP NOW, or log onto and designate funds for “International Response Fund.” [via TalkLeft]

Religious Charities: [List via Ilyka]

*Christian Aid

  • BAPS Care International
    Contact: Shailendra Adroja; 1-732-744-1744
    Checks payable to:
    BAPS Care International
    can be mailed to:
    195 Main Street Suite 304
    Metuchen, NJ 08840
  • The National Federation of Indian-American Associations
    Contact: Rajen Anand (703) 642-3156, (562) 537-1077
    Checks (tax-deductible) will be sent to the International Red Cross for the use of ALL victims in all countries.
    Checks payable to:
    can be mailed to:
    6912 Winter Lane
    Annandale, VA 22003
  • The Hindu Temple Society of North America
    Contact: Dr Uma Mysorekar (718) 460-8484
    Checks (tax deductible) payable to:
    The Hindu Temple Society of North America
    can be mailed to:
    Hindu Temple Society of North America
    45-57 Bowne Street
    Flushing, NY 11355

[last three agencies courtesy of Tsunami Help blog]

Also via Tsunami Help blog:

A united fundraiser is being planned by IDRF, Philadelphia in association with CIO, Bharatiya Temple, and Local organizations of Indian-Americans. IDRF is soliciting contributions for the relief and rehabilitation of Tsunami victims. IDRF has already released $10,000 towards immediate relief efforts and will match dollar-to-dollar for donations up to $50,000.

See here for details.

—Update 9am EST——

The following list is courtesy of Solonor - there may be some overlapping.

Action Against Hunger

247 West 37th Street, Suite 1201

New York, NY 10018


American Jewish World Service

45 West 36th Street, 10th Floor

New York, NY 10018


ADRA International

9-11 Fund

12501 Old Columbus Pike

Silver Spring, MD 20904


American Friends Service Committee (AFSC Crisis Fund)

1501 Cherry Street

Philadelphia, PA


Catholic Relief Services

PO Box 17090

Baltimore, MD 21203-7090


Direct Relief International

27 South La Patera Lane

Santa Barbara, CA 93117


Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres

PO Box 2247

New York, NY 10116-2247


International Medical Corps

1919 Santa Monica Boulevard Suite 300

Santa Monica CA 90404


International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

PO Box 372

CH-1211 Geneva 19



International Orthodox Christian Charities

Middle East Crisis Response

PO Box 630225

Baltimore, MD 21263-0225


Lutheran World Relief

PO Box 17061

Baltimore MD 21298-9832


MAP International

2200 Glynco Parkway

PO Box 215000

Brunswick, GA 3121-5000


Mercy Corps

PO Box 2669

Portland, OR 97208


Northwest Medical Teams

PO Box 10

Portland, OR 97207-0010


Operation USA

8320 Melrose Avenue, Ste. 200

Los Angles, CA 90069


Relief International

11965 Venice Blvd. #405

Los Angeles, CA 90066


Save the Children

Asia Earthquake/Tidal Wave Relief Fund

54 Wilton Road

Westport, CT 06880


US Fund for UNICEF

333 East 38th Street

New York, NY 10016


World Concern

19303 Fremont Ave. N

Seattle, WA 98133


World Relief

7 E. Baltimore St.

Baltimore, MD 21202


World Vision

PO Box 70288

Tacoma, Washington 98481-0288



  • Southern Baptists and other Christians can help by sending financial gifts for aid through the IMB disaster relief fund. Send gifts designated “Asia Earthquake Disaster Relief” to the International Mission Board, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, Va., 23230 (to give online, go to the International Mission Board’s website,, and click on “Give Now” in the box highlighting this story). All funds given will go to relief efforts; none will be used for administrative costs. [via here]

—Updates 8:22 pm EST

Amazon is taking donations

The Blogger Tsunami Challenge

—-Updates 12/29———-

NYT has an extensive list of agencies sending relief

Another long list, from Deseret News.

From blogger Scott Ott: Asian Disaster Relief Via Evangelical Agency

The band Linkin Park has set up (via Red Cross) Music for Relief

Another list, from Christian Science Monitor.

More here.

See this post for the Blogger/AdSense campaign.


Network for good has a good list, broken down by what each agency is doing.

Association for India’s Development website is tracking volunteeers who want to go to the region to help out.

In email from the UJA Federation:

In response to the devastating tsunami in South Asia, UJA-Federation of New York has set up a special emergency mailbox to collect funds for relief efforts. Donations can be made online at, by
sending a check made payable to “UJA-Federation - Tsunami Relief Fund” to:
UJA-Federation of New York
P.O. Box 27877
New York, NY 10087-7877

or by calling the Donor Center at 1.212.836.1880 with credit card information.
More information about the Tsunami Relief Fund can be found at One hundred percent of the funds collected will provide
direct assistance.


Foundation for Burma

Habitat News - how to help from Singapore

">Operation Give: “Fill the Plane”

Donate Frequent Flyer miles to relief organizations

[To be updated]

Posted by Michele at 11:56 PM | Comments (63) | TrackBack

U.S. Military Aids Tsunami Victims

The Associated Press reports on the U.S. military’s assistance to the tsunami victims:

  • Three military assessment teams in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia. The teams are working with the host nations to assess the situation and rush supplies to the most critical areas.
  • The USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Battle Group is operating off the island of Sumatra, and helicopters assigned to the group are ferrying supplies into the region and flying casualties out.
  • The USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group is rushing to the area. The group is scheduled to move to Sri Lanka, although the assignment could change.
  • More military airlifters are scheduled to go to the region. Two to four C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets will help in the effort, as will six more C-130 Hercules transports. Twelve more helicopters six CH-53s and six CH-46s are moving to the area.
  • C-130s and helicopters already on the scene are ferrying relief supplies to the hardest-hit areas.
  • Pre-positioned ships from Diego Garcia and Guam will arrive soon with relief supplies including water and water-making capacity. The ships also carry trucks and heavy construction equipment that will enable host nations to reopen roads.About 350
  • About 350 U.S. personnel are manning Joint Task Force 536 in Utapao, Thailand. P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft and C-130s are operating out of the base.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rescuers Set to Call Off Survivor Search

“There is very little chance of finding survivors after seven days,” Lamsar Sipahutar, the head of Indonesia’s search team. “We are about to stop the search-and-rescue operations. If you survived the earthquake, you probably were killed by tsunami.”

Read more//

Posted by Michele at 07:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Corpses Off Sumatra

From The Australian :

I’ve never seen anything like this. We’ve seen bodies 20 miles (32kms) out to sea. You just cannot describe it,” said Captain Larry Burt, commander of a helicopter air wing on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln parked off the Sumatra coast.

Above the water line, there are people standing there waving flags trying to signal us. There are so many, you just can’t stop for all of them,” he said after a mission down the west coast, which bore the brunt of the December 26 quake and tsunami.

Posted by Alan Brain at 07:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lower than a Snake's Belly

From Reuters UK :

A hoaxer pretending to be a British government official has emailed relatives and friends of people missing since the Asian tsunami disaster, saying their loved ones have been confirmed dead, police said today.

The hoaxer, claiming to be from the “Foreign Office Bureau” in Thailand, targeted people who had placed appeals for information on the website of TV station, Sky News.

Police said they were taking the hoax very seriously.

All the messages came from one bogus email address,

The British government would not use email to convey news of the death of a loved one,” a police statement said.

UPDATE : From the AFP via The Australian :

A 40-year-old man pleaded guilty today to sending hoax emails to friends and relatives of people missing since the Asian tsunami a week ago claiming they were dead.

Christopher Pierson, a father of two from the English city of Ruskington, pleaded guilty to charges of causing a public nuisance and “malicious” communication when he appeared in London’s Horseferry Road Magistrates Court.

The 35 emails - which purported to be from the “Foreign Office Bureau” in Thailand - were sent to people who had placed appeals for information on a website set up by Sky News television.

Posted by Alan Brain at 07:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

First Signs of Disease in Sri Lanka, India

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The first signs of potentially deadly diseases are threatening survivors in areas hit by killer tidal waves in Asia, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

There are increasing reports of diarrhoeal disease outbreaks coming from displaced persons’ settlements in Sri Lanka, and India,” David Nabarro, the top official at the Geneva-based WHO dealing with humanitarian crises, told reporters.

However he said these initial signs were not cause for alarm, though preventive measures and treatments must continue.

They are not causing us alarm because we expect this,” he said.

What we need to do is to make sure that we continue to distribute all rehydration salts and treatment for diarrhoea and we continue to do our work in sanitation and water supplies,” Dr Nabarro added.
On Tuesday, Dr Nabarro had warned that disease could kill as many people in devastated areas as the tidal waves themselves unless emergency aid reached the region within weeks.

But he highlighted to reporters that these comments were made when the death toll was less than 50,000.

The United Nations now fears that 150,000 may have died.

Posted by Alan Brain at 06:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Numbers

From the AFP via The Australian :

Around 3500 Swedes are still missing in Thailand, a week after tidal waves struck the country’s coastline, with 60 Swedes confirmed dead, the foreign ministry said today.

The ministry said it had managed to locate missing tourists and struck their names off the list, but new names were being added all the time.

The numbers go down, but then they also go up,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Arne Kallin told AFP. We’re still at around 3500 missing.

From The Australian :

For a week, relatives of the McGrath family had feared the worst for four members missing in tsunami-devastated Thailand.

Today they received the best news possible – their loved ones were all alive and well.

Phillip McGrath, 47, of Ettalong on the NSW central coast, his wife Angela, 10-year-old daughter Georgia and mother-in-law, Barbara, had not contacted family in Australia since Christmas Day.

Having heard nothing from them, relatives feared the McGraths were among the Australian victims of the disaster.

Mr McGrath’s niece Rebecca Walkingshaw, 25, said she had left messages on her uncle’s mobile phone, given details to the Department of Foreign Affairs and posted information about the family on the Red Cross’s missing persons website.

Me and my mum are preparing for the worst,” Ms Walkingshaw said earlier today.

But then she received the phone call she had been hoping for, letting her know all four family members were fine.

The family had left Phuket before the deadly tsunami struck and were still travelling in Thailand, but the battery of their mobile phone was flat.

Ms Walkingshaw, who had a television news crew from the Seven Network at her home when the call came, wept with relief.

Thank goodness for that,” she said.

No-one ever accused we Australians of being overly loquacious.

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

India has raised the number of people killed or feared killed in last week’s tsunami to 14,488, up by more than 1,700 since Saturday evening’s estimate.

A Home Ministry statement said the rise was due to a sharp jump in the numbers missing and presumed dead in the remote Andaman and Nicobar islands, from 3,754 to 5,421.

For reasons why the numbers are all very unreliable, and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future, see Op-Ed analysis.

Posted by Alan Brain at 06:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Help for Neighbours

Through Donations :

Australians have given with their hearts to the Indian Ocean tsunami crisis, making it the largest donation effort in the country’s history.

The four main aid agencies have been overwhelmed by Australians’ generosity and are now allocating so far more than $60 million of donated funds to the Asian countries devastated by the Boxing Day tsunamis.

World Vision Australia spokeswoman Belinda Richardson said the agency had received more than $15.5 million since the appeal began just seven days ago.

If there is something good to come out of this terrible disaster, then it is the way we have got together here to help others,” she said.

This is the biggest appeal we’ve had by miles. The Bam (Iran earthquake) appeal was $2 million in a matter of weeks and Rwanda 10 years ago was a record, but this is unprecedented.

Through the actions of Individuals :

Sydney woman Marion van der Reijden was so shocked by news footage of the Indian Ocean tsunami she immediately began doing something to help survivors.

Ms van der Reijden rang around pharmacies, hospitals and medical supply companies, asking them to donate urgently-needed supplies to send to the devastated Indonesian province of Aceh.

I was really just devastated by everything I was seeing on the news and I thought, ‘I have to do something about it’,” Ms van der Reijden said.
As her Aid 4 Aceh appeal gathered momentum, STA Travel sponsored a cargo flight to deliver the supplies to doctors in Sumatra.

Manly council is supporting Ms van der Reijden’s appeal and has provided a storage and processing centre, while North Sydney company M&A Marketing has set up a telephone call centre staffed by eight people.
We have a lot of donations from pharmacies and hospitals and big pharmaceutical companies and they’re all very generous,” Ms van der Reijden said.

We’re trying to fill up the whole plane with the stuff we’re collecting and you know what? I think we’re going to succeed.

The flight, loaded with supplies, is due to leave for Aceh next weekend.

Through Government :

Australian army engineers are staving off deadly typhoid and cholera in tsunami-hit Banda Aceh by bringing clean water to the devastated city.

A team a 10 combat engineers from Darwin and five environmental health assessors were cracking open the city’s main water lines to attach a mobile water purification plant.

They plan to have it running by tomorrow.

We will be able to distribute fresh water to aid agency trucks and run it out into taps as well,” warrant officer Allan Lewis told AAP.

We can’t supply all the water they need, but we’ll make a big dent in it.

The trailer-mounted unit was the first of two Australia will send

Posted by Alan Brain at 05:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 01, 2005

Donate Frequent Flyer Miles to Relief Organizations

has a long, frequently updated list of “frequent flyer/hotel programs that are allowing members to donate miles or points to organizations directly involved with relief efforts in the recent earthquake/tsunami disasters in Southeast Asia.”

You can check it out here.

Posted by Michele at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Some Good News

Precious little, but we’ll take what we can get. It will mean an awful lot to 10 families though. From the AFP via The Australian :

Ten foreign tourists have been found relatively unscathed on a small island off the northern tip of Sumatra, which took the full force of Asia’s tsunami disaster, state media said today.

The tourists, from Britain, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland were still in Sabang, a town on the island of Pulau Weh, one of the closest points to the epicentre of Sunday’s catastrophe, Antara news agency said.

We came to Sabang as tourists,” Antara quoted a Canadian, identified only as Debbi, as saying. She was speaking in the beach resort of Gapang in Sabang.

Antara said the 10 had reported their presence on the island to military authorities and asked to be transported out of the area.

A local airforce commander told Antara that they would be given a place on an army transport plane from Banda Aceh airbase.

Posted by Alan Brain at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Someone Always Doesn't Get the Word

From the AFP via The Australian :

The Indonesian military continues to launch raids against separatist rebels in tsunami-devastated Aceh province, despite having earlier called a ceasefire to assist aid efforts.

Our security operations continue,” Lieutenant Colonel Nachrowi of the military headquarters general information department said.

The only difference is that it may be less in scale and intensity.

“The principle is that all our forces in Aceh are basically continuing their duty under the security operation.

But they also have to accord a large portion of their time for the humanitarian relief efforts.

“We continue to launch raids into suspected GAM (Free Aceh Movement) areas and our vigilance remains high.

Lt-Col Nachrowi’s comments come despite Indonesian military chief General Endriartono Sutarto previously calling for an unprecedented temporary ceasefire with the rebels to help rebuild the remote province.

All my soldiers will be used to help overcome this natural disaster and I hope that GAM will also do the same, not using the opportunity for something else because this is really something to do with humanitarian problems,” Gen Sutarto said on Monday.

The Lt Col spoke a few days ago. Latest video from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) show the foundations of the barracks where hundreds of Indonesian troops and their families used to be. There are no “raids” because there’s no-one left alive there.

Posted by Alan Brain at 10:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Japan Pledges $500 Million

From the AFP via The Australian :

Japan pledged up to $US500 million ($642 million) in grant aid for tsunami disaster relief today, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced, making the country the largest single donor to victims of the catastrophe.
Until today, Japan had pledged more than Y3.1 billion ($38 million) in emergency aid to Asian nations devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.

Japan has sent dozens of firefighters, doctors, and other relief workers to affected areas.

It also has dispatched two naval destroyers and a supply ship to waters off Thailand to help with the recovery effort.

Posted by Alan Brain at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Operation Give: "Fill the Plane" Campaign

Operation Give, a charitable organization that sends toys and other goods to the children of Iraq and Afghanistan, have found a way to collect supplies for the relief effort and get them over there quickly, thanks to the generosity of FedEx.

Rev. Donald Sensing best described the operation at his weblog, so I took the liberty of excerpting what he wrote to best explain what OpGive is doing.

Chief Wiggles (aka Army Chief Warrant Officer Paul Horton), who founded Operation Give while serving in Iraq, just announced he has arranged for free FedEx relief flights to aid tsunami victims. Paul explains all here.

Basically, as Winds of Change explains, Paul has…
… offered Operation Give’s Salt Lake City Warehouse, and FedEx has offered both to take a planeload of goods to the Indian Ocean area, but to pick up and transship those donated goods from your house to the warehouse.

Paul lists some things needed, but here is a shortcut we Methodists have learned from working with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which operates disaster relief worldwide.

UMCOR has long listed specific “kits” useful for relief. Here is a popular one that is easy to assemble. It is called the Health Kit and costs about $12; they are distributed to individuals. Please note assembly instructions at the end! Also - new items only!

1 hand towel

1 one-gallon Ziplock-type bag

1 washcloth

1 regular size hair comb (not pocket size)

1 nail file or nail clipper

1 unopened bar of bath-size soap

1 unopened toothbrush

1 unopened, large tube of toothpaste (no travel or sample sizes)

6 adhesive bandages, such as Band-Aids

Assembly instructions:

Wrap all the items inside the new hand towel and tie it closed with string or yarn. Place the bundle inside the gallon bag and seal it. You’re done!

Here are other kits’ contents and prep:

  • Layettes. Babies and their mothers will appreciate these items (cost about $10).

  • Medicine Boxes. One box of medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, is enough to care for about 1,000 families for 3 months. Probably a group effort for these, please see the link for details.

    Other kits are listed here. Note: though a Methodist agency has developed these kits, you do not have to donate them to us Methodists. They are perfect for the “Fill A Plane” Campaign. And frankly, with FedEx providing free pickup and delivery to the stricken countries, they’ll get there quicker through Wiggles’s operation than the UMC, pains me though to admit it. But the key is to get the kits out as fast as possible.

    Paul explains that this part is important:

    Once you have gathered the necessary items, call me at 801.259.6336 and we will arrange for FedEx to pick them up at your home or at a FedEx drop-off location. On your boxes, please CLEARLY mark them “Fill the Plane” so we know it is intended for this campaign!

    UMCOR lists soap as an especially critical need. Sanitation is a critical concern. I am going to send bulk boxes of various soaps myself, plus washcloths and the like. I would add as well that batteries (AA and D) would surely be needed in bulk.

    I amplify what WOC wrote about using FedEx’s free pickup: make the dollar amount of goods they pick up more than worth the trip.

    Paul also solicits donations. I will plug as well that UMCOR accepts donations online.

  • This seems like a great way to get much needed supplies to the area. Thanks to Chief Wiggles for his effort and thanks to Rev. Sensing for the additional advice and info on what to send.

    Posted by Michele at 06:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    U.S. Boosts Tsunami Aid to $350M

    President Bush on Friday pledged $350 million to help tsunami victims, and didn’t rule out sending even more U.S. aid to help people recover from what he is calling an “epic disaster.”

    “Our contributions will continue to be revised as the full effects of this terrible tragedy become clearer,” Bush said in a statement issued in Crawford, Texas, where he is staying at his ranch. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this epic disaster.”

    The pledge of $350 million is 10 times the previous $35 million U.S. assistance package that critics called miserly considering America’s vast wealth. In New York, Secretary of State Colin Powell also said more U.S. aid could be forthcoming.

    “We had to wait and see what those needs were,” Powell said. “I’m not sure $350 million is the end number. It’s the number that we settled on for now.”


    Bush spoke on the phone Friday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. He said he increased U.S. assistance based on recommendations by Powell and Andrew Natsios, administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

    Powell said he wanted to make sure his recommendation to drastically increase the aid was based on accurate assessments of the need and not just a daily game among nations of “Can you top this?”

    Read more…

    Posted by Michele at 06:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 31, 2004

    Giant Snake Followed to Safety

    From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):

    An Indonesian woman in the tsunami-ravaged province of Aceh has recalled swimming to safety with her neighbour’s young twins on her back by using a giant snake to guide her through the flood waters.

    Riza, a 26-year-old clothes seller from Penayang village in the capital of Banda Aceh, said she initially watched helplessly as the tsunami swept in to destroy her home on Sunday morning.
    Riza said that as she was carried out of her house she was dragged towards her badly injured neighbour, who was struggling to hold on to her nine-year-old twins.

    Please save my twins, just let me go, as long as they’re safe,” a tearful Riza recalled the mother saying.

    Riza said she grabbed the twins and placed them on her back.

    As she struggled through the torrent, she saw a snake as big as a telephone pole gliding left with current of the water and towards what turned out to be a makeshift bank.

    Strangely I felt no fear,” Riza said, adding she followed the snake to safety.

    Thank God, with the power I had left, I managed to go to higher ground and the water was only a metre high.

    Riza said the twins suffered severe bruising and other injuries from being battered, but they too were safe. There was no word on the fate of their mother.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 11:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Indonesia Gives Up on giving Exact Figures

    From The Australian :

    Indonesia had given up trying to issue precise figures for the tens of thousands of people killed in an earthquake and tsunami at the weekend, the health minister said today.

    Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said her officials would from now on give only general estimates since the death toll was too large to provide an exact tally, the state Antara news agency said.

    They would wait until all data had been collected before issuing a precise final account, she said.

    Data regularly issued by her ministry on the death toll had often failed to match data obtained by other institutions, so there was too great a margin of error to deal in exact running tallies, she said.

    The ministry said earlier that the final casualty number from Sunday’s catastrophe would likely reach up to 100,000. Its last confirmed figure was 79,940.

    Also from The Australian :

    People should be prepared for a sharp increase in the Australian death toll from the Asian tsunami, the government said today.

    More than 125,000 people have died from the massive tidal waves triggered by an undersea quake last Sunday, including an official Australian death toll of 11.

    Authorities this morning revised up the number of Australians for which grave fears are held to 111.

    Calls to our consular hotline … as well as information gathered on the ground has identified 111 Australians known to have been in the area at the time this natural disaster struck,” foreign affairs parliamentary secretary Bruce Billson told Sky News.

    Work continues (in the) search for those people, as well as a further 970 who we believe may have been in the regions affected and have not been accounted for at this time.” Mr Billson said there was no doubt that the Australian death toll would rise.

    From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    The official death toll from last weekend’s tsunami disaster is approaching 150,000 with most of the victims in the Indonesian province of Aceh.

    The United Nations also says bodies are still being found and the toll could rise but the true figure might never be known.
    More than 10,500 foreigners, mainly tourists, are still unaccounted for and the vast majority are Europeans.

    Sweden is suffering more than most other Western countries with around 2,500 Swedish tourists still missing, many presumed dead.
    Thailand has updated its death toll to 4,541, which has doubled since yesterday.

    Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has warned the toll could approach 7,000.
    More than 400 foreign tourists and expatriates have been confirmed or reported as killed.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Question On Helping Out in the Area

    Several readers have left comments on this post indicating that they would like to go help in the relief efforts.

    If anyone knows of any resources available - people, agencies to contact, etc. - to guide these generous people, please do so in the comments and I will let them know.

    Thank you.

    Posted by Michele at 08:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    'Angel of the Seas'

    A Delhi woman in the Andaman islands has become the centre of a multi-nation effort by ham operators to unite thousands of families separated by the killer waves.


    A grateful Indian army is supporting 46-year-old Bharti Prasad with gear and batteries as the Delhi-based housewife has networked ham operators across the nations to reunite families and help in relief and rescue operations.


    “We arrived here on December 15 to support Andamans as a radio country … Amatuer stations across the world wanted a footprint in these beautiful islands,” Prasad told AFP in the capital of Port Blair.


    “When the tidal waves struck, we just turned the beacon towards India and since then, we have been flooded with messages which we relay on local telephone lines,” she said.

    “Hams have also advertised in newspapers asking people to get in touch with us, and in that way, we are uniting families broken up by Sunday’s waves,” added Prasad. She has already handled around 30,000 emergency calls since disaster struck the tropical paradise.

    Read more…

    Posted by Michele at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    LA Television Telethon

    This was placed in the comments on the How to Help post and we thoughtwe’d give it some further publicity.

    KSCITV Channel 18 in Los Angeles is a multi-cultural local station serving the large Asian community in LA with in-language programming. On New Year’s Day between 1 - 5 p.m. PST we’re having a live telethon to raise funds for the victims of the quake and tsunami. Sheeraz Hasan, a well known Indian celebrity, as well as our own on-air personalities, will host. It will be in English. Already we’re getting tremendous support to pull this together — consulate dignitaries from each of the countries affected will be here to give updates, celebrities from those countries will be calling in and even mainstream US celebrities have been offering support. If anyone knows of anyone with a personal story related to the catastrophe and they would like to come into the studio during the live telethon to tell their story please have them contact me at We want to raise as much money as possible — we’re working directly with World Vision and the Int’l Red Cross and their representative will be here too.

    Here’s a link to the station’s website
    , which has more info.

    Posted by Michele at 09:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Is Burma Hiding Something?

    So asks the title of this blog post:

    My family and I just back from Burma and my wife knows a pilot for an airline there. He told her that he went down there after the tsunami hit and that there were villages that were completely wiped out. I know for a fact that these villages have more then 56 people in them. It’s a sad situation for the Burmese people when the juanta is too afraid of losing control if they ask for help from the outside world.

    Which points to this news item

    Burma Action Ireland has expressed concern that the true facts about the impact of Sunday’s tsunamis on the people of Burma may not have been revealed.

    The country’s military rulers have said Burma was not badly affected by the tidal waves that killed at least 87,000 people in more than 10 countries.

    However, Burma Action Ireland spokesman Hugh Baxter said this may not be true.

    “The Burmese government has a track record of under-reporting casualties in natural disasters, so it’s difficult to know,” he said.

    “We would quite frankly hope that in this case the military were actually telling the truth.”

    Burman/Myanmar also experienced an earthquake today, but no damage was reported.

    Posted by Michele at 09:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Ambassador : Aceh Death Toll May Hit 400,000

    From the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama :

    The death toll in Acheh, the region worst hit by last Sunday’s tsunami, may exceed 400,000 as many affected areas could still not be reached for search and rescue operations, Indonesia’s 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 “disappeared”.

    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.

    Aerial 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,” he told reporters after receiving RM1 million in aid for Indonesia’s 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 : From the Washington Times :

    The death toll in Indonesia could reach 400,000, because many affected areas remain beyond the reach of rescue operations, Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia told reporters, the Malaysia Star newspaper reported.

    If the figures are correct, and the total death toll in all nations is on the order of half a million, Dec 26 will be the worst single day in human history.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 05:34 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    More Pictures, Videos, and a Volcano

    The Blog Cheese and Crackers has an archived collection with multiple mirrors of many videos taken around the Indian Ocean Shoreline.

    Digital Globe has high-resolution QuickBird satellite images that give the “big picture” of the devastation in various places. shows some of the same pictures at lower resolution, but superimposed to give the “before and after” situation.

    From The Australian :

    India’s last active volcano, in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, has erupted in the aftermath of the earthquake that set off tsunamis killing thousands of people, official sources said today.

    People have been evacuated from Barren Island since the eruption began on Tuesday night and there are no reports of injury.

    Lava was flowing out of the rim of the crater, which towers above the Indian Ocean, the sources said.
    M M Mukherjee of the Geological Survey of India said the volcano presented little real danger.

    The risk is minimised because it is surrounded by the sea so if at all there is a lava flow it will roll off into the sea,” he said.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 12:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Death Toll Shoots to 114,000 125,000

    An alarming rise in numbers today:

    The increase came after Indonesia reported nearly 28,000 newly confirmed dead in Sumatra, which was closest to the epicenter of last weekend’s massive earthquake and was overwhelmed by the tsunami that followed. Some 60 percent of the Banda Aceh, the main city in northern Sumatra was destroyed, the U.N. children’s agency estimated, and the island’s northwest coast ” lined with villages ” was inundated.

    The new count brought Indonesia’s death toll to around 80,000 ; the worst hit nation, followed by Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

    UPDATE : From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    The death toll in the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster has soared above 125,000 as millions of survivors scramble for food and fresh water.
    Rescue workers pressed on into isolated villages shattered by a disaster that could yet eclipse a cyclone that struck Bangladesh in 1991, killing 138,000 people.
    The total death toll shot up more than 50 per cent in a day, with still no clear picture of conditions in some isolated islands and villages around India and Indonesia.

    While villagers and fishermen suffered devastation, losses among foreign tourists, essential to local economies, mounted.

    Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said more than 1,000 of his countrymen and women may have been killed in the disaster.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 12:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 30, 2004

    Powell and Jeb Bush to Visit Area

    A U.S. delegation headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, brother of President George W. Bush, will travel to southern Asia Sunday to assess humanitarian needs, a White House spokesman said Thursday.

    Their itinerary will be set by the State Department, deputy White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters.

    Read more…

    Posted by Michele at 09:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Italy's Berlusconi calls for G8 summit on tsunami

    Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called on Thursday for a Group of Eight (G8) meeting so that the rich nations club could discuss their response to Asia’s tsunami disaster which has killed around 120,000 people.

    “I want to propose an extraordinary G8 meeting,” Berlusconi told reporters after a news conference. “The meeting should discuss the organisation of aid and the possible reduction of debt.”


    Berlusconi described the disaster as “the worst cataclysm of the modern era” and called on Europe to help. “All the world is sending aid and Europe must be a protagonist, it must make its existence felt by responding together and globally.”

    “Europe must assume a collective global undertaking to help those economies.”

    Read more…

    Posted by Michele at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Another Wave Animation

    From our Forums, another animation of the wave, this via NOAA (QuickTime, 3.5 Meg). (Thanks to CityBilly for the link).

    Posted by Alan at 10:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Phuket Tsunami Weblog

    This was posted in our Forums: The Phuket Tsunami Weblog. The description:

    Rick Von Feldt describes first hand what happend when a tsunami hit Phuket, Thailand on December 26, 2004 - Scroll to bottom to see first post. Most recent is on top - I would really enjoy contributions to this blog either from those reading or from individuals who also experienced what I experienced.

    If you’re looking for a first-hand account, here it is. (I presume this is legitimate, but as always on the web, judge for yourself.)

    Posted by Alan at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Phuket Tsunami Weblog

    This was posted in our Forums: The Phuket Tsunami Weblog. The description:

    Rick Von Feldt describes first hand what happend when a tsunami hit Phuket, Thailand on December 26, 2004 - Scroll to bottom to see first post. Most recent is on top - I would really enjoy contributions to this blog either from those reading or from individuals who also experienced what I experienced.

    If you’re looking for a first-hand account, here it is, much of which is in the form of emails sent by Rick to family and vice versa. (I presume this is legitimate, but as always on the web, judge for yourself.)

    Posted by Alan at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Death Toll Shoots to 114,000

    An alarming rise in numbers today:

    The increase came after Indonesia reported nearly 28,000 newly confirmed dead in Sumatra, which was closest to the epicenter of last weekend’s massive earthquake and was overwhelmed by the tsunami that followed. Some 60 percent of the Banda Aceh (search), the main city in northern Sumatra was destroyed, the U.N. children’s agency estimated, and the island’s northwest coast — lined with villages — was inundated.

    The new count brought Indonesia’s death toll to around 80,000 — the worst hit nation, followed by Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

    Posted by Michele at 09:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    80,000 Feared Dead in Aceh

    The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has just shown the first video footage of the west coast of Aceh.

    The scene there is quite different from the rest of the pictures we’ve seen. In the town of Calang, where 10,000 people lived on Christmas day, 2004, there’s no debris. No cars or busses upturned. No wrecked buildings. Nothing.

    All that’s left are rectangular concrete foundations of where solid brick buildings used to be, interspersed with the occasional Palm tree. No other vegetation. There appears to be about 40 human survivors there, but no other animal life of any kind.

    A plane flight over 100 km of the coast spotted 2 cows within a few kilometres of the coastline. That was all. Tens of thousands of people used to live in that area.

    The report Video:
    [Win Broadband] [Real Broadband] [Win Diallup] [Real Diallup]

    For context of the places mentioned, see this map of the Area.


    Posted by Alan Brain at 07:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    India Issues Tsunami Warning

    [Related story here]

    Despite the apparent absence of any major seismological activity, Indian authorities have ordered people in coastal areas to head for higher ground, four days after giant waves triggered by a massive earthquake killed at least 10,000 Indians.

    Thursday’s warning triggered panic in the streets of Port Blair, the regional capital of India’s remote Andaman Islands, where the death toll from Sunday’s tsunamis is expected to rise.

    Sri Lanka said it would follow suit, but then quickly decided against issuing any evacuation orders.

    India’s central alert said there was evidence from foreign experts that a powerful earthquake could occur Thursday afternoon near Australia, triggering another tsunami in the Indian Ocean, according to a report from state-run Press Trust of India.

    The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors earthquake activity around the world, said it had not recorded any major activity that would spawn a tsunami.

    Read more…

    Posted by Michele at 05:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Greatest Charity

    From The Australian :

    The impoverished, fledgling state of Timor-Leste will donate $US50,000 ($64,600) to help the victims of the Asian tsunamis.

    As neighbours and friends we cannot stand by and do nothing,” Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said in a statement today.

    This terrible tragedy has shattered so many lives and communities, that this is our way of saying we are here as your friends when you are in need.

    “Our nation is poor but our spirit is strong and our people support the government of Timor-Leste in doing this, even though they have so little.

    Mr Alkatiri said the people of Timor-Leste knew what it was like to be the beneficiary of generosity at times of great sufferings.

    So the least we can do is to give 50,000 dollars from our small budget,” he said.

    Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said the donation would be made through the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    Timor-Leste, which separated from Indonesia following a 1999 independence vote and became a sovereign nation in 2002, has a population of about one million people and is one of the poorest nations in Asia.

    And the reason it was so poor is because Indonesian-backed militia and Indonesian troops trashed the place as they left. During the Indonesian invasion and occupation, approximately 1/4 of East Timor’s citizens died. Eventually, the pictures of the massacres forced Australia and nearby nations to intervene.

    They’re so poor that a gift of a couple of cartons of toothbrushes Carmel and I sent to a village made a significant difference to the dental health of an entire region - they shared them out. No longer did they have to loan the village toothbrush out to any visitors.

    And now they’re giving to people of the country that so oppressed them.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 04:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Was Warning Available? - an NOAA Timeline

    Not really - and certainly not in time. It was 65 minutes after the seismic event before the possibility of a tsunami in the Indian Ocean was recognised. By that time, it would have travelled over 500 miles.

    From the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration :

    Dec. 29, 2004 — NOAA scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii went to work within minutes of getting a seismic signal that an earthquake occurred off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

    NOAA issued a bulletin indicating no threat of a tsunami to Hawaii, the West Coast of North America or to other coasts in the Pacific Basin—the U.S. area of responsibility.

    NOAA scientists then began an effort to notify countries about the possibility that a tsunami may have been triggered by the massive 9.0 undersea earthquake.

    The Pacific Basin tsunami warning system did not detect a tsunami in the Indian Ocean since there are no buoys in place there. Even without a way to detect whether a tsunami had formed in the Indian Ocean, NOAA officials tried to get the message out to other nations not a part of its Pacific warning system to alert them of the possibility of a tsunami.

    However, the tsunami raced across the ocean at speeds up to 500 mph.

    Below is the timeline of agency’s actions once the undersea earthquake was detected by the NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.

    (All times listed below are Hawaii Standard Time or HST.)

    At 2:59 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (HST) on Christmas Day a large earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean near Sumatra, Indonesia.

    At 3:07 p.m. the resulting seismic signals received at the NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) from stations in Australia triggered an alarm that alerted watchstanders.

    At 3:10 p.m. PTWC issued a message to other observatories in the Pacific with its preliminary earthquake parameters.

    At 3:14 p.m. PTWC issued a bulletin providing information on the earthquake and stating there was no tsunami threat to the Pacific nations that participate in the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific (ITSU). These member nations are part of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the International Coordination Group for the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific (ICG/ITSU). India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives are not part of the Pacific system.

    At 4:04 p.m. PTWC issued bulletin No. 2 revising the earthquake magnitude to 8.5. That bulletin stated no tsunami threat to the Pacific but identified the possibility of a tsunami near the epicenter. No additional information regarding the formation of a tsunami was available.

    At approximately 4:30 p.m. HST PTWC attempted to contact the Australia Met Service with no luck but were successful in contacting Australia Emergency Management.
    They confirmed they were aware of the earthquake.

    At approximately 5:30 p.m. Internet newswire reports of casualties in Sri Lanka provided PTWC with the first indications of the existence of a destructive tsunami.
    Indications are that the tsunami had already struck the entire area by this time, although we have not been able to obtain arrival times.

    At approximately 5:45 p.m., armed with knowledge of a tsunami, PTWC contacted the U.S.Pacific Command (PACOM) in Hawaii.

    At approximately 5:45 p.m., PTWC received a call from a Sri Lanka Navy Commander inquiring about the potential for further tsunami waves from aftershocks.

    At approximately 6:00 p.m. the U.S. Ambassador in Sri Lanka called PTWC to set up a notification system in case of big aftershock. He said they would contact Sri Lanka Prime Minister’s office for such notifications.

    Continuing news reports gave increasing and more widespread casualties.

    At approximately 7:25 p.m. the first reading from the Australian National Tidal Center gauge at Cocos Island west of Australia gave a reading of 0.5m crest-to-trough.

    At 7:25 p.m. the Harvard University Seismology Department reported its preliminary Centroid Moment Tensor solution that indicated a magnitude of 8.9.

    At approximately 7:45 p.m. PTWC contacted the Australia Bureau of Meteorology and advised them about the increased earthquake magnitude and the 0.5m reading at Cocos Island, as well as the possibility of a destructive tsunami impact on Australia’s west coasts.

    At approximately 8:00 p.m. PTWC re-contacted PACOM to advise of increased earthquake magnitude and potential for further tsunami impacts in the western Indian Ocean.

    At approximately 8:15 p.m. Australia Bureau of Met called PTWC to advise they had issued an alert to their west coast.

    At approximately 8:20 p.m. NOAA National Weather Service Pacific Region director contacted PTWC to report PACOM said no tsunami was observed at Diego Garcia in the Pacific.

    At approximately 10:15 p.m. PTWC spoke with U.S. State Department Operations and advised them about the potential threat to Madagascar and Africa. They set up a conference call with the U.S. embassies at Madagascar and Mauritius, and PTWC advised them of the situation.

    At 5:36a.m. on December 27 PTWC issued a third Tsunami Information Bulletin for this event informing the Pacific that small sea level fluctuations from the Indian Ocean tsunami were being observed in the Pacific, probably from energy that wrapped around south of Australia.

    The report also states

    …it is important to note that without similar gauges and buoys in the Indian Ocean PTWC officers were not in a position to detect a tsunami there.
    It is also important to recognize that tsunamis can come ashore within minutes of nearby earthquakes. In those instances, people must know what to do in the event of a "felt" earthquake in low lying coastal areas.

    The need for a tsunami warning program outside the Pacific region has been raised since 1985 with little result. It now appears that there is new interest in this issue within the international ICG/ITSU community. The U.S.strongly supports such an effort.

    Most deaths happened in the Indonesian province of Aceh, before the magnitude of the quake was recognised. There was no way any warning system could have detected the threat and broadcast a warning in the few minutes available there - it takes time for the quake effects to propagate through the Earth to measuring stations.
    A warning system for the Indian Ocean similar to the one in the Pacific may have given enough time for effective warning to Sri Lanka and Thailand.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 12:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 29, 2004

    Aftershocks hit Aceh - No New Tsunami : Toll now over 80,000 : 5 Million at risk

    From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    The latest quake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale shook sea north-west of the main Sumatra island city of Medan shortly after 4:00am local time, after two quakes measuring 5.1 and 5.2 the previous evening.

    This is not big enough to cause tidal waves,” said Fauzi of the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Office.
    More than 81,000 people have been killed across the region, at least 45,000 of them in Aceh on Sumatra’s northern tip.

    Again from the ABC :

    The tsunami death toll in Thailand has been raised to just under 2,000, with more than 6,000 missing.

    There is no breakdown of the figures, but previously rescue officials have said that at least half of the missing are Western tourists, who also make up many of those confirmed dead.

    Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says most of the 6,000 people missing are probably dead.

    There are many people listed as missing and we think that 80 per cent of them are feared dead,” he said. “Twenty per cent may have lost contact.

    The Interior Ministry says 1,975 people are confirmed killed and 6,043 are missing after Sunday’s disaster.

    If the Prime Minister’s estimate proves correct, it would mean a final death toll close to 6,800.

    Once more from the ABC :

    Up to 5 million people around the Indian Ocean are waiting for food and clean water as nations hit by one of the biggest tsunamis on record rush to bury their dead and avert the threat of disease.
    United Nations emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland says aid workers have reached most of the stricken areas.

    It will take maybe 48 to 72 hours more to be able to respond to the tens of thousands of people who would like to have assistance today - or yesterday, rather,” Mr Egeland said.
    David Nabarro, who heads the World Health Organisation’s health crisis team, says as many as 5 million people are “not able to access what they need for living”.

    Either they cannot get water, or their sanitation is inadequate or they cannot get food,” he said.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 11:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    How To Help

    One way is via the CCF - the Christian Children’s Fund.
    I don’t consider myself a Christian, but I do donate to the CCF regularly, and sponsor a child in Timor Leste (Maria Immaculada Da C.).
    They’re lean and efficient - the money goes where its needed, not on junkets and bureaucracy. You don’t have to be a Christian to donate.

    Now for how not to help. The following Scam hit my e-mail box this morning, and has hit many others too.

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    With sympathy and heavy laden hearts,
    we hereby appeal to your sense of generosity to assist by donating any amount you can afford towards The “TSUNAMIS DISASTER HELP FUNDS”, which is aimed at assisting the victims of the Asians Tsunamis which took place on Sunday the 26TH December, 2004 .
    We are a non-governmental charity organisation with offices and members across 5 continents namely Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Our goal is to assist poor, innocent survivals of both man-made and natural disasters. Our officials and members are scattered in places in needs of human and material relief as seen in cases of Sudan ( Darfur ) and Haiti etc.
    We would appreciate it, if you can send us an email ( Via ) For further enquiries on how to make donations towards the Tsunamis Disaster Help Funds ( T D H F )

    Should you be wondering how we came about your e-mail address/website. This was done through a computer ballot system drawn from over 20,000 company and 30,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world, names from Australia, New Zealand, South America, Europe, North America, Middle East, Africa and Asia are part of this computer ballot selection and we will be glad to hear from you. Thanks.
    Yours Sincerely
    Mr. Cedric Hyzy
    Chief Coordinator

    ..also Opportunistic Parasite and Human Slime.

    Received: from (HELO (

    Any professional security person who wishes a specimen of this e-mail (with headers) for tracing this piece of ambulatory offal, please contact me.

    I’ll repeat so there is no misunderstanding: the e-mail above bears all the hallmarks of a particularly loathsome scam. It is fraudulent. Money sent to this individual will go to criminals, not victims.

    UPDATE : Someone is on the ball.
    > Remote host said: 550 <>: Account Deactivated

    UPDATE :
    via Instapundit, Tim Blair recommends World Vision in the following terms :

    I’m personally familiar with World Vision’s work (via them we sponsor a Zimbabwean boy with the beautiful name of Obvious) and recommend World Vision without hesitation. Low overheads, lean, efficient, get things done. They’re the opposite of the UN.

    and via Samizdata, a recommendation by Arthur C. Clarke.

    Alternatively, considering supporting Sarvodaya, the largest development charity in Sri Lanka, which has a 45-year track record in reaching out and helping the poorest of the poor. Sarvodaya has mounted a well organised, countrywide relief effort using their countrywide network of offices and volunteers who work in all parts of the country, well above ethnic and other divisions. Their website,, provides bank account details for financial donations. They also welcome contributions in kind — a list of urgently needed items is found at:
    Posted by Alan Brain at 07:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Thai Weather Officials Under Attack For Lack of Warning

    Thailand’s meteorological department knew by 8.10am (local time) on Sunday about an hour before the first waves hit that a powerful earthquake had struck near Sumatra, and they discussed the possibility that the quake could cause large sea disturbances. The department had already distributed information pamphlets several years ago explaining the risks of tsunamis around southern Thai beach resorts.

    But without definitive proof of an imminent tsunami, the meteorological department dared not issue a national warning lest it be accused of spreading panic and hurting the tourism industry if the disturbances did not materialise.

    “Not every earthquake that occurs in the sea will cause a tsunami; it is very difficult to know,” said Sumalee Prachuab, a seismologist at the department. “If we issue a warning about the possibility of a tsunami, people will panic very much.

    “Phuket is for the tourists, and [if we warn] they will cancel everything,” she said. “Then if the tsunami did not occur, the meteorological department will have many telephone calls, complaining ‘why did you make that prediction?’.

    For the tourists.

    Posted by Michele at 04:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Animals May Have Sensed Tsunami

    Wildlife officials in Sri Lanka expressed surprise Wednesday that they found no evidence of large-scale animal deaths from the tsunamis — indicating that animals may have sensed the wave coming and fled to higher ground.

    An Associated Press photographer who flew over Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park in an air force helicopter saw abundant wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, deer, and not a single animal corpse.

    Floodwaters from Sunday’s tsunami swept into the park, uprooting trees and toppling cars onto their roofs — one red car even ended up on top of a huge tree — but the animals apparently were not harmed and may have sought out high ground, said Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, whose Jetwing Eco Holidays ran a hotel in the park.

    Read more…

    Posted by Michele at 04:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Bush: We Are Committed to Helping


    President Bush said Tuesday the United States, India, Australia and Japan have formed an international coalition to coordinate worldwide relief and reconstruction efforts for the Asian region ravaged by a deadly earthquake and tsunamis.

    “We will stand with them as they start to rebuild their communities,” Bush said from his Texas ranch in his first comments on the disaster Sunday that so far has killed more than 67,000.

    Bush pledged a multifaceted response from the United States that goes far beyond the $35 million initially pledged, including U.S. military manpower and damage surveillance teams in the short term and long-term rebuilding assistance. He also called on Americans to private donate cash to relief organizations to augment the response.

    “This has been a terrible disaster. It is beyond our comprehension,” the president said.

    Posted by Michele at 10:12 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    Jillian's Choice

    From The Australian :

    An Australian woman was forced to let go of one of her children to save another when a wall of water struck their Thai holiday destination.

    Jillian Searle, of Perth, was near her Phuket hotel pool with sons Lachie, five, and Blake, two, when the tsunami hit on Sunday.

    Her husband Brad watched the calamity unfold from the vantage point of his first-floor room.

    Ms Searle was faced with a terrible choice as she fought to stay alive amid the raging waters.

    I knew I had to let go of one of them and I just thought I’d better let go of the one that’s the oldest,” she told Sky News.

    A lady grabbed hold of him for a moment but she had to let him go because she was going under.

    “And I was screaming, trying to find him, and we thought he was dead.

    Sky News said Lachie was found safe two hours later after surviving the raging torrent by clinging to a door.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 10:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Survivor Stories

    Thought it would be nice to focus on a different side of things for a moment:

    A four-year-old boy stranded in a treetop for more than two days in southern Thailand has been reunited with his ecstatic father.

    And a six-year-old Taiwanese girl also survived by clinging to the branches of a palm tree in Phi Phi.

    Suthipong Pha-Opas said it was a miracle his son, Vathanyu, had survived up a tree without food or water.

    “I had given up hope of seeing him again,” Mr Pha-opas, a fisherman, said. “I was convinced I’d lost him because he could not swim.”

    Mr Pha-Opus, 26, said his son was playing near their house on Sunday when the tsunami wave smashed into Khao Lak, a resort north of Phuket.

    Yeh Chia-ni, 6, was on holiday with her mother in the resort of Phi Phi when the tsunami hit.

    The girl was rescued after being stuck in a coconut tree for a day and a night but her mother was washed away and is still missing.

    “I was hung there . . . a foreigner climbed up and saved me,” the girl said.

    She was reunited with her father in Phuket after being treated at a local hospital for light injuries.

    “I hadn’t had breakfast, lunch and dinner for a long time,” the girl said.

    The girl will be sent back to Taiwan while her father will stay in Thailand to search for his missing wife.

    [via Herald Sun]

    Posted by Michele at 10:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Australian Donations Mount : Aceh Casualties Likewise

    Via Tim Blair, a roundup of preliminary contributions by Australian governments :

    All figures in Australian dollars:

    Australia [Federal Government] : $35 million

    New South Wales: $2 million

    Western Australia: $2 million

    Queensland: $1.5 million

    Victoria: $1.5 million

    Australian Capital Territory: $500,000

    South Australia: $500,000

    Tasmania has donated $150,000. Tasmania only has 300,000 people in though, about the same as the ACT where I live.

    UPDATE : The Australian Cricket team are donating their prize money.

    From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation :

    Aid authorities in Indonesia believe the death toll in Aceh could still be tens of thousands higher that the current estimate of 32,000.

    Grave fears are held for the 100,000 people who live on the west coast.
    At least 32,000 people are estimated to have died, but tens of thousands more remain unaccounted for in western Aceh, which bore the brunt of Sunday’s tsunami.

    From The Australian :

    The first shocking images of Sumatra’s devastated west coast emerged yesterday, leading authorities to dramatically increase the estimated toll from Sunday’s disaster and increasing the pressure on Australia to take a leading role in the reconstruction of tsunami-hit Indonesia.

    Troops arriving in Meulaboh in Aceh province reported 10,000 bodies lying in the streets of the city, population 100,000, which was 80 per cent destroyed by the quake and resulting tsunami.

    A reconnaissance flight covering about 160km of the Sumatran coast between Banda Aceh and Meulaboh revealed no signs of life, all main structures destroyed and sea water about 2km inland.
    But with great tracts of northern Sumatra still under surging ocean and no word from many isolated communities, officials warned the toll would jump — to perhaps as high as 100,000 — when contact was finally made with the area emerging as the quake’s ground zero.
    [Australian]Foreign Minister Alexander Downer increased the nation’s immediate aid commitment to $35million, including $10 million earmarked for Aceh, but warned that Australia would eventually commit “considerably more than that, particularly helping the rehabilitation of some of these communities that have been utterly devastated”.

    I think it’s going to be a very expensive exercise for Australia, but it’s also the fact of life that we have very great responsibilities,” he said.

    It is understood that senior Australian government officials are already contemplating the prospect of a substantial Australian contribution to the multi-billion-dollar reconstruction of northern Sumatra once the immediate humanitarian needs have been met.

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned late yesterday that the toll around the Indian Ocean rim would be “thousands, thousands if not tens of thousands, more than the figure that is generally being used now”, but Jakarta Red Cross spokesman Phil Charlesworth predicted that Aceh, on the northwest tip of Indonesia’s largest island, could by itself deliver the kind of figures Mr Annan expected.

    There’s a population on the northwest side of Sumatra of 100,000, and most of those are unaccounted for,” Mr Charlesworth said.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Blogger/AdSense Campaign

    I’m going to add this to the general list of ways to help, but I wanted to promote it a bit.

    Blogger Scott Hanselman has started a movement to get all Bloggers using Google AdSense to donate their revenues to disaster relief funds.

    As Scott said: The power of blogging isn’t citizen journalism, it’s the power to start a movement.

    So if you’re a blogger using Google ads, please check out Scott’s post to see what you can do.

    [via TCP contributor Solonor]

    Posted by Michele at 08:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    12/29 Updates

    * Aftershocks to continue, tsunami unlikely

    I suspect the updates to this story will not change much from here on in - they will mostly consist of a rise in the death toll and stories about burying the dead. We’ll try to bring more singular stories at this point, rather than a barrage of links in each post, each saying the same thing, but with different numbers.

    Posted by Michele at 07:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 28, 2004

    65,000 68,000 and still climbing

    From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    More than 65,000 people are believed to have been killed across Asia, with many thousands more missing and feared dead.
    More than 32,000 people are confirmed dead in Indonesia from the tsunami and the undersea earthquake which sparked it.

    In Thailand, 1500 are dead and 1500 are missing, mainly tourists.

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) is concerned that the death toll could double due to disease.

    UNESCO’s International Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning System (ICG/ITSU) has an animated graphic showing that the wave was focussed east-west, missing the tens of millions of very vulnerable people to the north. It could have been literally hundreds of times worse, with tens of millions dead.

    Click on graphic to show animation

    UPDATE : From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami in Asia has been put at 68,000, including as many as 40,000 in Indonesia alone.

    Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla says an estimated 5 per cent of the 300,000 population of the Aceh’s provincial capital, Banda Aceh, had died.

    Today our estimation is around 30,000-40,000 dead. Aceh’s population is about 4.5 million with 300,000 in Banda Aceh,” Mr Kalla told diplomats at a meeting.

    Maybe 5 per cent of Banda Aceh’s population is dead, or maybe more,” he said.

    President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono spoke of “frightening reports” from outlying parts of Aceh province, on the northern tip of Sumatra island, which was closest to the quake’s epicentre.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 10:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Toll Rises Above 50,000/Updates

    Desperate refugees foraged for coconuts or looted food on battered Sumatra island, as the number killed in a mammoth earthquake and tsunami soared above 55,000 on Wednesday with tens of thousands still missing. The U.N. health agency warned that disease in the aftermath of the disaster could double the toll yet again.

    10,000 dead in one town:

    Purnomo Sidik, national disaster director at Indonesia’s Social Affairs Ministry, said 10,000 people had been reported killed in and around Meulaboh, a poor Sumatran town where most people are fishermen or workers on palm oil plantations

    Video footage of the tsunami, plus other good links, here.

    Incredible photos here.


    A top World Health Organization official warned that disease following in the wake of the devastation could kill as many people again. Dr. David Nabarro told a Geneva news conference Tuesday that an influx of medical supplies and water treatment equipment is crucial to head off the looming health catastrophe.

    “We could have as many dying from communicable diseases as from the tsunami,” he said, according to a Reuters reporter in Switzerland.

    Authorities believe the most powerful loss of this terrible event may prove to be the loss of a generation of children.

    UNICEF estimates at least one-third – possibly half – of the estimated 60,000 dead are children. Perhaps the same number have been left orphans.

    [If I may interject here] —-

    The enormity of the disaster is just now sinking in for me. As when I covered the Russian hostage crisis, the first few days were a flurry of internet activity; gathering links, scanning stories, reading blogs and emails with more links and more stories. My purpose is, of course, to perform my Command Post duties and bring you all the news as quickly as possible, but it serves another purpose - treating the story as a job has kept me somewhat detatched from the human face of it.

    It is only now, when I’ve had a few spare moments to digest everything that’s happened in the past few days, that it hits me just how much - and how many - were lost. Not just lives, but perhaps an entire generation. Livelihoods are gone. Entire families wiped out. Towns demolished. The sadness and grief will be felt around the world. How do you mourn 60,000 people at once? How do you even comprehend that number? It seems almost impossible.

    Here’s a sobering thought for you:

    The number of people killed by the South Asian tsunami will likely exceed the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War.

    The only thing we can do, as observers, is reach out however we can.

    [I apologize for this personal intrusion into the usual barrage of links and updates]

    Posted by Michele at 08:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Region Death Toll Breakdown/Foreigners Killed [Updated (4)]

    Asia and Africa:

    Update: The latest count in this region is 21,700 dead.

    • Indonesia: Approximately 19,000 people were killed. The death toll there is expected to reach 25,000.
    • India: The international Red Cross reports 6,000 deaths in India. [Update - 8,000 people are missing and feared dead in India]
    • Thailand: 1,516 people dead at last count, among them more than 700 tourists.
    • Somalia: At least 110 killed, officially, though that number will most likely double.
    • Myanmar: About 90 people were deaths reported.
    • Malaysia: At least 65 people, including an unknown number of foreign tourists.
    • Maldives: At least 55 people were confirmed dead.
    • Tanzania: At least 10 people, mostly swimmers.
    • Seychelles: Three killed.
    • Bangladesh: Two killed.
    • Kenya: One killed.

    Breakdown of Foreigners Killed

    • Italy: 13 dead, many missing and dozens being treated in hospitals
    • Norway: 10 dead
    • United States: Eight dead [update: 11 dead]
    • Denmark: Three dead
    • Australia: Six dead, 11 missing [Update: 8 confirmed deaths]
    • Austria: Four dead
    • Belgium: Two dead
    • South Africa: Two dead [Updated to four]
    • Finland: One dead
    • New Zealand: One dead, about 180 reported missing
    • Malaysia: Unconfirmed reports of three dead
    • South Korea: Unconfirmed report of one dead [Update: four confirmed dead]
    • Switzerland: Unconfirmed report of one dead, 41 missing
    • Poland: Media reports say one likely dead, three hospitalized and about a dozen unaccounted for [U[date: four confirmed deaths]
    • Japan: Media report 15 bodies found in Sri Lanka appear to be those of Japanese
    • Russia: Up to 120 missing
    • Israel: Dozens missing and 28 injured, four seriously
    • Turkey: Foreign ministry says it’s unable to reach 23 Turks; media report at least 15 missing
    • The Netherlands: 19 confirmed missing, 53 confirmed injured [Update - two deaths confirmed]
    • Spain: 12 confirmed hospitalized
    • Portugal: Three confirmed missing, two confirmed hospitalized
    • Czech Republic: Many reported missing, at least five injured
    • South Korea: 4
    • South Africa: 4
    • Denmark: 3
    • Brazil: 2
    • Germany: 10
    • Sweden: 6

    We’ll try to update this list as it changes, and also include links to any relevant stories as the day goes on.

    [Source: AP, FOX News]

    Posted by Michele at 04:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Disaster Death Toll Could Surpass 100,000

    Agence France Presse reports the head of Italy’s civil emergency relief services, charged with coordinating all rescue operations in the region by the European Union warned the overall death toll could surpass 100,000:

    “The number of victims is destined to increase over the coming days and I fear that in the end it will be more than 100,000 deaths even if we will never know the exact figure because there is no register of the population in most of the affected countries,” Guido Bertolaso, director of the Italian civil protection unit said.

    From California Yankee.

    Posted by Dan Spencer at 02:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    50,000/More Updates (2)

    The death toll has reached 50,000. Updating this number constantly for three days has become an exercise in grief.

    Mourners in Sri Lanka buried their dead with bare hands today while rescue services struggled to reach areas of Indonesia still cut off from the rest of the world, two days after a tsunami devastated Indian Ocean coastlines and killed more than 50,000 people.

    Emergency workers who reached the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra found that 10,000 people had been killed in the town of Meulaboh, said Purnomo Sidik, the national disaster director at the Indonesian social affairs ministry.

    [to be updated]

    Posted by Michele at 01:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    U.N. Official Calls. Aid Stingy

    The Washington Times reports that U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being “stingy” with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised:

    “It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really,” the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. “Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become.”

    “There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy,” he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe “believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It’s not true. They want to give more.”

    From California Yankee.

    Posted by Dan Spencer at 10:45 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Death Toll Rises To 44,000

    The Associated Press reports that the death toll across 11 nations is now 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, amid unconfirmed reports that other towns along Aceh’s west coast had been demolished, he said.

    In Sri Lanka, the toll also mounted significantly. Around 1,000 people were dead or missing and feared dead from a train that was flung off its tracks when the gigantic waves hit. Rescuers pulled 204 bodies from the train’s eight carriages — reduced to twisted metal — and cremated or buried them Tuesday next to the railroad track that runs along the coastline.

    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 brought the potential toll up to 50,000.

    Posted by Dan Spencer at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Death Toll Climbs Over 30,000/Other Updates (2)

    The death toll from a magnitude 9.0 earthquake near Indonesia and the resulting tsunami in the Indian Ocean rose to 36,946 people, government officials and media from affected countries said.

    Officials fear the figure could rise to almost 57,000. Indonesia said its toll could hit 25,000, while Sri Lankan officials warned up to 25,000 people may have died there. Thailand said its toll may exceed 2,000.

    [to be updated]

    Posted by Michele at 06:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Toll now 27,500 : 30,000+ Still Missing

    Radio reports in Australia now give the confirmed death toll at 27,500, as the first reports from remote areas are received.

    From News Ltd :

    At least 3000 people died in the Andaman and Nicobar islands and 30,000 people are missing after five villages in the archipelago were swept away by a tsunami, district official G.C. Gupta said today.
    Posted by Alan Brain at 05:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 27, 2004

    UN Says `Enormous' Aid Effort Follows Deadly Quake

    The United Nations said 24 countries have joined “an enormous relief effort” following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Indonesia’s coast…. Egeland said more than 2,000 UN workers and hundreds of airplanes will arrive within 48 hours in the eight nations most severely affected by the earthquake off Sumatra. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies asked for $6.6 million in emergency aid and the World Food Program appealed for $1.5 million.

    Australia has sent two military planes to Malaysia to ferry emergency supplies such as bottled water and tarpaulins to the affected countries, Prime Minister John Howard told a press briefing.

    The U.S. plans to give $15 million, Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters in Washington. The European Commission said it will donate up to $30 million to aid people in the affected areas, on top of the $3 million it allocated to the Red Cross yesterday. Australia’s government said the nation will give A$10 million ($7.7 million) to the quake zone.

    Read more…

    Posted by Michele at 03:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    UN Warns of Epidemics - Other Updates

    [All posts on the quake are compiled here. Links to ways to make donations for relief can be found here. Also, feel free to use the TCP forums if you would like to discuss this topic or share information/links/stories about it.]

    As the death toll nears 24,000, the devastation is realized in other ways as well. Millions have been left homeless in the affected regions. Businesses and homes have been completely wiped out. And now there is fear that disease could raise the death toll significantly.

    Typhoid, diarrhoea and hepatitis epidemics now pose the gravest threat to the tens of thousands who survived a devastating tsunami which tore across the Indian Ocean, international relief agencies say.

    A senior U.N. humanitarian official said the United Nations faced an “unprecedented” challenge to get aid to victims left vulnerable by the wall of water which killed at least 22,000 people when it pounded coastlines from Sri Lanka to Indonesia, even taking lives as far away as Somalia.

    “The biggest threat to survivors is from the spread of infection through contamination of drinking water and putrefying bodies left by the receding waters,” Jamie McGoldrick of the world body’s OCHA agency told reporters on Monday.

    Posted by Michele at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Relief Efforts Accelerate

    [All posts on the quake are compiled here. Links to ways to make donations for relief can be found here. Also, feel free to use the TCP forums if you would like to discuss this topic or share information/links/stories about it.]

    From The Australian :

    Two Russian aircraft have left Moscow for Sri Lanka, carrying 25 tonnes of humanitarian aid for victims of the tsunamis that devastated large parts of the country, ITAR-TASS news agency has reported.

    Russia had announced that it would take part in international relief efforts, and sent diplomats to the Thai island of Phuket, where Russian holidaymakers had been staying.

    The Il-76 planes heading for Sri Lanka were carrying tents and other emergency supplies, plus a helicopter and Russian rescue workers, ITAR-TASS reported.

    As India operates IL-76s, this makes sense, as they’ll have a nearby source of spare parts available.

    Not to be outdone, the early leaders in the race to provide relief, Australia, increased their efforts. (Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!) From The Australian :

    [Australian] Defence Minister Robert Hill said two more C130 Hercules aircraft would leave for Sumatra tomorrow, after two Hercules carrying supplies and medical teams departed Richmond RAAF Base near Sydney today.
    Chief of Defence Force General Cosgrove and I have spoken to our Indonesian counterparts, and have agreed that the aircraft will be dispatched to Sumatra, one of the worst-hit areas,” Senator Hill said.

    Two aircraft have departed tonight carrying supplies and a medical team of 10 specialists, who will conduct health assessments and some primary treatment.

    “An additional two aircraft will depart tomorrow.

    “Australia is committed to doing all we can to assist our neighbours to deal with this terrible disaster.

    Air Commodore Glen Steed from Richmond RAAF Base said each Hercules would carry a crew of 10 to 15 people, most of them support personnel but including specialists in environmental health and hygiene.

    Also on board was water purification equipment.

    He said the mission was to ensure a supply of fresh water to the people affected by the disaster.

    That’s our priority – get that (purification equipment) in there and then the medical assistance to follow on,” he said.

    As was earlier predicted on The Command Post by our resident Disaster Relief Logistics expert, me. Sumatra must be in bad shape - it would have been far easier logistically to provide support via RAAF Butterworth in Malaysia, Australia’s only foreign base and convenient for KL and Penang.

    P.S. A personal appeal : Allowing the RAAF to buy 4 C-17 Globemaster III transports with spares at the same price the USAF gets them for would really help - 4 C-130s is 1/10 of our intercontinental transport capacity, and most of the rest is allocated to UN or should-be-UN missions to Iraq, Afghanistan, Timor Leste, and the Solomons. This may actually save the US some money (greater production run), increase US employment, and allow us to help you guys out a bit more in future. Right now, we have to rent Ukrainian Antonov AN-124s to do outsize cargo lifting, as we can’t afford the usual “Foreign Military Sales” price for C-117s. You might point this out to your local Congresscritter. Ta.

    The UN is also doing “everything possible”. From the ABC :

    A team of three UN experts were due to arrive in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, while another was expected to head for the Maldives in the coming hours, the UN’s Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator, Yvette Stevens said.

    More specialists were poised to help authorities in Indonesia and Thailand evaluate the destruction on their coastlines and coordinate relief efforts.

    I think this is unprecedented, we have not had this before,” Stevens told journalists in Geneva.

    We have all these teams ready and stand-by capacity, and we think we should be able to bring it together to cope. Of course it will be a strain, because we are not used to it, but we are doing everything possible.

    The race is on though. From Sify News (India) :

    A French government plane left for the Sri Lankan capital Colombo with about 100 doctors, rescue specialists and communications experts, along with six tonnes of equipment, including drugs and a field medical post, and another was following.

    Germany pledged one million euros (1.35 million dollars) of aid to the stricken region and was working with humanitarian groups, as well as sending three experts to Sri Lanka to help restore water supplies.

    Greece was sending two military C-130 cargo planes to the Maldives and Sri Lanka with more than six tonnes of aid along with doctors and rescuers, and had released aid worth 150,000 euros for each country, Athens said.

    A plane carrying 32 tons of medicine, food and emergency goods donated by charitable organizations was due to leave Vienna later Monday for the flood-hit region, the Austrian Red Cross said.

    Pakistan said it would send tents, medicine and water to Sri Lanka, while the Indian government, which has set up a huge operation to help people on its southern coasts, was also offering food and medicine to its southern neighbour aboard five warships.

    Australia offered 10 million dollars (7.6 million US) dollars for aid, and dispatched two C-130s with medical specialists, drinking water and other supplies to Indonesia, with two more to follow Tuesday.

    “I stress that this is an initial contribution,” Prime Minister John Howard said. “Australia will and should give more”.

    The European Union’s executive arm pledged “substantial sums” which could reach 30 million euros (40.5 million dollars) in emergency aid, after first releasing three million.

    Ireland also released one million euros and both Kuwait and Canada offered about one million dollars each.

    Italy has sent a planeload of aid, along with tents, a generator, a field hospital with staff and fresh water to Thailand, while Italian Catholic bishops said their church would come up with three million euros.

    Britain sent two experts to join a UN crisis assessment team and pledged 100,000 dollars to fund a World Health Organisation crisis response team.

    The Czech government released 10 million koruna (328,000 euros) and was sending eight tonnes of drinking water to Sri Lanka, while neighbouring Slovakia promised 10 tonnes of aid for the country.

    Switzerland said it would probably raise its initial appeal for 7.5 million Swiss francs (4.8 million euros, 6.6 million dollars).

    Two teams from Sweden’s rescue services were to be flown to Thailand Monday, consisting of technicians and communications experts, the TT news agency said.

    The United States was ready to offer “all appropriate assistance to those nations most affected,” the White House said.

    Japan sent a 20-member medical team, including four physicians and seven nurses, to Sri Lanka and promised more aid was on the way.

    The Japanese Red Cross Society said it would give 100 million yen (965,250 dollars) to help tsunami victims and that it had an emergency response unit on standby.

    Israel was also sending doctors to Sri Lanka and has offered similar help to India.

    The Philippines, which was spared by the waves but recently lost 1,800 killed in devastating storms, will send “a small humanitarian contingent,” said President Gloria Arroyo.

    Iran, where some 31,000 people were killed in the southern city of Bam exactly a year before the Asian disaster, would also do what it could to help, President Mohammad Khatami said.

    Turkey, another earthquake-prone country, also promised help.

    In the race, the Dark Horse is the USA. I‘d expect an Aluminium Overcast of US transport aircraft to be re-locating right now, ready to help out transporting stuff for other nations without much publicity. That’s what they usually do.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    First Casualty Reports from Burma : 200 Tourists Feared Dead in Sri Lanka

    [All posts on the quake are compiled here. Links to ways to make donations for relief can be found here. Also, feel free to use the TCP forums if you would like to discuss this topic or share information/links/stories about it.]

    From the AFP via The Australian :

    At least 56 people have been killed in Burma from tidal waves unleashed by a huge earthquake and the toll is expected to rise, an international aid agency said today.

    The government’s relief and resettlement ministry is now confirming 36 dead in Ayeyarwaddy,” a division west of the capital Yangon, an official from the agency told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    And a Thanintharyi division minister of home affairs official has also confirmed … that at least 20 people in that division have died,” he said of Burma’s southernmost region which borders Thailand.

    Burma’s UltraLeft Military Junta is notoriously secretive, much like the pre-Gorbachev USSR.

    Australia gets its share of the effects, fortunately with no loss of life. From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    Tidal surges caused by an earthquake off Indonesia have hit the Western Australian coast as far south as Busselton, more than 200 kilometres south of Perth.

    After tidal swings broke lobster boats from their moorings in Geraldton last night, Senior Constable Peter Gilmore says three people were swept out to sea in Busselton this morning.

    We’re experiencing one metre tidal swings every 30 minutes to 60 minutes as a result of the earthquake,” Senior Constable Gilmore said.

    A father and his children got dragged out about 100 metres into the Geographe Bay area.

    “They needed some assistance to get back to shore.

    “But they’re fine, they got taken to hospital for observation.

    The situation elsewhere continues to worsen though. From Reuters via The Australian :

    Sri Lanka said today it feared about 200 foreign tourists had been killed by its worst tsunami in memory after the military raised the overall death toll to more than 10,000 people.

    We have received complaints of about 200 foreign tourists reported missing since yesterday. They are feared dead,” Minister of Power and Energy Susil Premajayantha told a news conference.

    From the AFP via The Australian :

    At least 100 Somali fishermen are presumed dead as a result of deadly tsunamis that battered the country’s coast over the weekend, a presidential spokesman told said.
    Posted by Alan Brain at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Updated Death Toll by Country

    Source: AP

    • Sri Lanka:
      A military spokesman says the death toll is 10,029 in government-controlled areas. Tamil rebels say 2,000 were killed in their areas, making a total of 12,029. More than 1 million people were displaced from wrecked villages.
    • Indonesia:
      Government officials say about 4,991 people were killed. Aceh province on Sumatra island was near the quake’s epicenter and was the hardest-hit part of the vast archipelago.
    • India:
      An estimated 2,958 people died, the Home Ministry said. The worst-hit area was Tamil Nadu state, where 2,300 people died. Huge waves left southern beaches strewn with bodies and flipped-over boats and cars.
    • Thailand:
      The Interior Ministry said 866 people died, another 4,100 were injured and thousands were missing, mostly in idyllic southern islands packed with tourists from around the world. Among the dead was Poom Jensen, 21, the Thai-American grandson of King Bhumipol Adulyadej.
    • Malaysia:
      At least 52 people, including an unknown number of foreign tourists, were dead, according to official reports. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated temporarily from hotels and apartments after the Indonesian quake was felt throughout peninsular Malaysia.
    Posted by Michele at 09:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Earthquake Updates: Aftermath (2)

    As rescue efforts begin, the carnage becomes more evident.


    Hundreds of rescue ships, helicopters and planes were mobilised to evacuate tourists from wrecked resorts and airlift stricken victims to hospitals already overflowing with the wounded and corpses.


    More than 91 overseas tourists died in Thailand and Sri Lanka, while 530 Japanese travelers are missing after tsunamis unleashed by the biggest earthquake in 40 years struck tourist resorts across Asia.

    The U.K. embassy in Sri Lanka said more than 70 tourists died on the Indian Ocean island, while the Thai government said 21 tourists were killed on the resort island of Phuket and other coastal provinces. At least 11 Italians, 3 Americans, a New Zealander and a South Korean were among those known killed.

    The adults wept with swollen eyes in the corner of a wedding hall in this southeastern Indian fishing village, while children played hide-and-seek obliviously nearby.

    Hours after after the largest earthquake in 40 years struck southern Asia Sunday unleashing massive tidal waves, the parents knew something their children did not: that families, homes, boats — often everything they had — had been swept away in a few minutes by the raging waters



    Soldiers searched for bodies in treetops, families wept over the dead lined up on beaches and rescuers scoured coral isles for missing tourists as Asia counted the cost on Monday of a tsunami that killed up to 14 566.


    “Death came from the sea,” Satya Kumari, a construction worker living on the outskirts of Pondicherry, India, said. “The waves just kept chasing us. It swept away all our huts. What did we do to deserve this?”


    Rescuers piled up bodies along southern Asian coastlines devastated by tidal waves that smashed into nine countries, obliterating seaside towns and killing more than 20,900 people. Hundreds of children were buried in mass graves in India, and morgues and hospitals struggled to cope with the catastrophe.
    The United Nations has warned of epidemics within days unless health systems in south and southeast Asia can cope after some 12,000 people were killed and tens of thousands left homeless by giant tsunami waves.


    “The longer term effects may be as devastating as the tidal wave or the tsunami itself … Many more people are now affected by polluted drinking water. We could have epidemics within a few days unless we get health systems up and running.

    Posted by Michele at 08:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Earthquake Updates V (7) [Death Toll Tops 20,000]

    [All posts on the quake are compiled here. Links to ways to make donations for relief can be found here. Also, feel free to use the TCP forums if you would like to discuss this topic or share information/links/stories about it.]


    Rescuers are scouring the sea for missing tourists and soldiers are racing to recover bodies amid fears of disease as Asia counts the cost of a tsunami that has killed more than 16,400 along coasts from India to Indonesia.

    [Update: CNN has the toll at more than 20,000]

    An earthquake of moderate intensity rocked Andaman and Nicobar Islands early on Monday, a day after they were ravaged by tsunami tidal waves triggered by a massive quake off Indonesia coast that killed over 11,000 people across South Asia and Southeast Asia.

    The quake, measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, was recorded at 6.20 am, the Meteorological Department said in New Delhi.

    —-Updates as of 6:30am EST——

    • Jeff Ooi (who has been a great source of information) reports on false emergency messages being sent out in the area.

    Jeff also points to this - a wiki being developed on the tsunami.

    • Seven Britons were said to have died in Thailand, Italy said 11 of it citizens were killed, the US reported three, Australia and Denmark each reported two and New Zealand one. Japanese media said 15 bodies in Sri Lanka appeared to be of Japanese. Also among the missing, injured or dead were nationals of South Korea, Germany, South Africa, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Sweden and Chile.”

    [to be updated]

    Posted by Michele at 07:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Earthquake Updates: First Person Accounts

    [All posts on the quake are compiled here. Links to ways to make donations for relief can be found here. Also, feel free to use the TCP forums if you would like to discuss this topic or share information/links/stories about it.]

    • First of all we climbed up into a tree for a couple of minutes, but then that began to fall down because of the water. We were swept along for a few hundred meters, trying to dodge the motorcycles and the refrigerators and the cars that were coming with us. Finally, about 300 meters inshore, we managed to get hold of a pillar, which we held on to, and then the waters just gradually began to subside..”
    • Simon Clark, a 29-year-old photographer from London who vacationing in Thailand on Koh Ngai island near Krabi, told Reuters: “Suddenly this huge wave came, rushing down the beach, destroying everything in its wake. People that were snorkeling were dragged along the coral and washed up on the beach, and people that were sunbathing got washed into the sea.”
    I was a quarter way around the island when I heard my brother shouting at me, “Come back! Come back! There’s something strange happening with the sea.” He was swimming behind me, but closer to the shore.


    Then I noticed that the water around me was rising, climbing up the rock walls of the island with astonishing speed. The vast circle of golden sand around Weligama Bay was disappearing rapidly, and the water had reached the level of the coastal road, fringed with palm trees.


    John Krueger, 34, of Winter Park, Colorado, described being inside his bungalow Sunday on Khao Luk Beach, north of Phuket, with his wife, Romina Canton, 26, of Rosario, Argentina, when the water filled it and blew it apart.

    “The water rushed under the bungalow, brought our floor up and raised us to the ceiling. The water blew out our doors, our windows and the back concrete wall. My wife was swept away with the wall, and I had to bust my way through the roof,”

    When the tsunami hit the popular Miami Beach in Batu Ferringhi here at about 1.15pm, S. Tulasi was sleeping in a room behind her father’s western food outlet along the beach.

    “We were all caught offguard when the wave hit us…I was thrown several metres but managed to hold onto one of the posts but my 12-year-old daughter was swept by the wave,” said A. Suppiah.

    Suppiah, 55, said his wife, Annal Mary, 40, braved the strong wave to open the room door to save their baby.

    “I thought I had lost both my daughters…but thank God the mattress was floating in about 1.5m of water and my baby was crying. My other daughter, Kanchana somehow managed to get to her feet and run to safety,” said Suppiah who injured his right ankle.


    Shortly after the boat landed, I saw that the sea was just disappearing and I told my wife something was wrong and that we needed to run,” Majer said. “We ran to a small, three-story hotel near the beach. I opened the door and we both went in. I thought we were safe. But then there was a terrible boom and a huge wave washed over us. The walls collapsed and I was buried under water. I was saved only by an air pocket there.”

    Asked about his wife’s fate, Majer’s lips tremble. “I think she’s gone,” adding: “We took out a loan to go on this trip.” [link source]

    • For a close up look at the devastation, check out blogger Ernest who is in Phuket. He took several photos. He wrote:
    After about 2 hours and several other big waves coming in we walked about 5 blocks up a hill to a resort hotel. I kept telling the people there all around me that I was diabetic and lost my insulin in the waves. A police truck came by on the way to the hospital and gave us a ride to the hospital in land and up hill. I got there and the place was a mad house. But I went straight to the pharmacy and bought insulin. We then found a new hotel about 2 blocks from the hotel it is called Nipa Villa still in the town of Patong and on Phuket island. The airport is under water, there is a bridge connecting the island to the mainland in the north of the island but that has been destroyed. I don’t know how long we will be stuck here but we are ok. [link source]


    I just spoke to a friend who is trying to find the courage to make the phone calls to ask if people are OK. It is hard to make a phone call that might bring bad news. The roads are quiet and although people are trying to get on with life as usual most find it difficult. The fear that there is bad news we have not yet heard is paralysing and makes concentrating on normal work very hard. I do not know how to explain to my two year old daughter why she has seen people crying, but at least we are all alive.

    For more personal accounts, see here.

    [to be updated]

    Posted by Michele at 06:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    First Australian Aid Dispatched

    All posts on the quake are compiled here. Links to ways to make donations for relief can be found here. Also, feel free to use the TCP forums if you would like to discuss this topic or share information/links/stories about it.

    Due to an accident of geography, Australia is in a particularly good place to give assistance. From the ABC :

    Prime Minister John Howard has offered his deepest sympathy to Australia’s Asian neighbours which have been devastated by tsunamis.
    Australia is to provide an initial $10 million of relief assistance which will go to the Red Cross, other non-government organisations and directly to Indonesia.

    This afternoon two C-130 Hercules headed to the region laden with supplies such as water purification units, blankets and bottled water.

    Mr Howard says he will speak to leaders from the region over the next day to learn what further help Australia can offer.

    I imagine that it will be some days before the full extent of this tragedy unfolds,” Mr Howard said.

    I can only repeat that the Australian people feel great sympathy for our friends in the region.

    “We’ll do everything we can as a regional neighbour and a regional friend to assist the countries that have been so badly affected.

    The Government says it will donate more money as the full scale of the disaster unfolds.

    The initial pair of C-130s is just the start, what could be loaded within a few hours that would be most useful in the initial stages. In the next few days, Reverse-Osmosis Water Purifiers and Generators will be delivered, along with emergency medical supplies.

    Donning my Professional Hat, I have first-hand experience of the types of support we can give, and the resources required. (See paper 56 at SimTecT 2004) :

    A 6-week 2-person project is described that developed a detailed simulation of airborne logistics transport for evacuation and disaster recovery in remote areas.
    Cargoes to be transported are in general heterogenous, including outsized and oversized loads such as generators, vehicles, and bulk containers of assorted sizes requiring special handling.
    Each individual flight is modelled in detail, along with taxiing, loading, refueling and air traffic control delays. Both Fixed- and Rotary-wing aircraft are modelled, as are limitations such as MOG and ACN of airfield nodes.

    We can’t do everything - a Million people have been displaced in India alone - but we should be able to make a difference to our neighbours. And we know pretty accurately from planning and simulation what we’re able to provide in the way of resources, and how best to transport them where needed.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 06:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Scattered Casualties Reported in Africa, Burma

    All posts on the quake are compiled here. Links to ways to make donations for relief can be found here. Also, feel free to use the TCP forums if you would like to discuss this topic or share information/links/stories about it.

    From The Independant :

    At least 10 people were killed in the town of Kawthaung, near the Thai border, with other casualties suspected from fishing trawlers missing at sea.

    However state television in the secretive, military-ruled country gave no details of damage or injuries. Officials confirmed that the undersea quake and several aftershocks had been felt in Burma.

    In Bangladesh, the south-eastern port city of Chittagong and neighbouring areas were badly shaken. Two people were confirmed dead.

    But no reports of tsunamis inundating 2/3 of the country and killing hundreds of thousands, as has happened in the past. Amidst the unfolding tragedy, I’m greatly relieved.

    Scores of people were killed and thousands driven from their homes in countries stretching from the horn of Africa down to Tanzania and out into the Indian Ocean.

    At least nine people were killed in north-eastern Somalia. In some parts of the country, the wave travelled two miles inland, along riverbeds.

    At least one person was killed and others feared missing on Kenya’s coast.In the Seychelles, at least nine people were reported missing after a six-foot surge flooded roads and knocked out power lines.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 06:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 26, 2004

    Death Toll 12,600 and Still Rising : Evacuations in Africa

    All posts on the quake are compiled here. Links to ways to make donations for relief can be found here. Also, feel free to use the TCP forums if you would like to discuss this topic or share information/links/stories about it.

    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.
    Thai officials said at least 392 people were killed and more than 5,000 injured in the country’s south.
    In Malaysia, 41 people, including many elderly and children, were drowned and many others were missing after tidal waves hit two resort islands, officials said.
    African nations too began clearing Indian Ocean beaches at risk from killer waves.

    Authorities in Kenya, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles and Somalia on Sunday asked people to evacuate areas on their Indian Ocean shores.

    The ABC has a gallery of the latest pictures from the disaster zones.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 09:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Earthquake Updates IV

    [All posts on the quake are compiled here]

    Note: If anyone has heard of any relief efforts underway - a way to donate money to the victims of the disaster - please let us know in the TCP forums.

    • Other countries are now starting to come up with numbers for missing/dead residents who were traveling in the area: Three Americans are among the dead; Six Australians missing. And here’s an interview with an Australian hospital worker in Phuket who has been keeping count of foreigners admitted to the hospital.

    [to be updated]

    Posted by Michele at 08:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Earthquake Updates III (by region)

    Sri Lanka:

    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’s 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.



    The health ministry reported 4,185 killed and hundreds more missing. Towns were leveled and bodies wedged in trees by walls of water. Aceh province on Sumatra island — torn by separatist violence for years — was near the Indonesian quake’s epicenter and was the hardest-hit part of the vast archipelago. [source: AP]


    Nearly 2,300 people died, officials said. The worst affected area was Tamil Nadu state, with 1,705 deaths. Huge waves left southern beaches strewn with bodies and flipped-over fishing boats and cars.

    Water surges into nuke complex:

    India’s nuclear weaponisation facility at Kalpakkam was threatened by the tsunamis from the Bay of Bengal. Water from the sea entered the complex and a wall in the Kalpakkam Atomic Reprocessing Plant and the Madras Atomic Power Station caved in.

    An army battalion stationed in Chennai was deployed to drain out the water and act on an emergency. Following a scare about the extent of the damage, a spokesperson for the Crisis Management Group in New Delhi said: “All precautions have been taken and the Kalpakkam atomic plant is fully safe.”


    Thailand: Officials said 289 people died, 3,675 were injured and thousands were missing, mostly in idyllic southern islands packed with holiday revelers from around the world at the height of the tourist season. Swimmers were battered on coral reefs and sunbathers were swept out to sea. [source: AP]

    “As of now Phuket has 117 dead,” the island’s governor Udomsak Aswarangkul told iTV, adding to official casualty figures of 193 for the rest of the nation.

    He said the popular resort island was also reporting 214 people missing, including 162 foreign tourists. Other officials said some 5,000 were injured.

    [to be updated to include other affected regions]

    Posted by Michele at 04:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Tsunami Toll: Warnings Could Have Saved Thousands

    [All posts on the quake are compiled here]

    Via Instapundit; Why the tsunami toll was so high:

    A warning centre such as those used around the Pacific could have saved most of the thousands of people who died in Asia’s earthquake and tsunamis, a US Geological Survey official said.

    None of the countries most severely affected - including India, Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka - had a tsunami warning mechanism or tidal gauges to alert people to the wall of water that followed a massive earthquake, said Waverly Person of the USGS National Earthquake Information Centre.

    “Most of those people could have been saved if they had had a tsunami warning system in place or tide gauges,” he said yesterday.

    “And I think this will be a lesson to them,” he said, referring to the governments of the devastated countries.

    Person also said that because large tsunamis, or seismic sea waves, are extremely rare in the Indian Ocean, people were never taught to flee inland after they felt the tremors of an earthquake.

    Posted by Michele at 04:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Help Is On The Way

    The Associated Press reports that relief efforts are already underway after the massive earthquake and tidal waves that hit southern and southeast Asia.

    President Bush expressed condolences to the victims in a statement issued by deputy presidential press secretary Trent Duffy:

    Earthquake and Tidal Waves in the Bay of Bengal

    On behalf of the American people, the President expresses his sincere condolences for the terrible loss of life and suffering caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in the region of the Bay of Bengal.

    The United States stands ready to offer all appropriate assistance to those nations most affected including Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Thailand, and Indonesia, as well as the other countries impacted. Already relief is flowing to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. We will work with the affected governments, the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and other concerned states and organizations to support the relief and response to this terrible tragedy.

    Again, we extend our sincere condolences to all the people of the region at this time of suffering.

    The statement, issued aboard Air Force One en route to Texas from Washington, comes as Pope John Paul II appealed for swift international aid to help the victims:

    “The Christmas holiday has been saddened by the news that comes from Southeast Asia about the powerful earthquake which struck Indonesia, with consequences in other countries, including Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and the Maldives.”

    “We hope that the international community acts to bring relief to the stricken populations,” the pontiff said.

    European leaders also expressed sympathy and sent aid:

    European Union
    European Union Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Luis Michel said it was important to deliver aid “in those vital hours and days immediately after the disaster.” The 25-nation EU will deliver $4 million in emergency aid as a start.

    Great Britain
    British consular officials were called from vacation and aid efforts were being organized.

    French President Jacques Chirac sent a letter expressing his sympathy and the solidarity of France to the president of Sri Lanka.

    Relief officials and charities such as Caritas and Volkshilfe issued a broad and urgent appeal for cash donations.

    The Greek foreign ministry said a C-130 cargo plane was ready to offer assistance.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to leaders of India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

    German President Horst Koehler sent his condolences to the leaders of the stricken countries and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Germany was ready to offer aid.

    According to the American Red Cross, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in south Asia have begun to mobilize staff and volunteers to affected areas to assist with the immediate needs. Emergency assessment and first-aid teams have already reached some of the affected areas.

    From California Yankee.

    Posted by Dan Spencer at 03:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    More Than 11.300 Dead

    Reuters now reprts the death toll from Sunday’s eartquake and tsunamis is more than 11,300.

    Posted by Dan Spencer at 03:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Latest Quake Updates: 9,300 Dead [Updated - 3]

    [All posts on the quake are compiled here]

    Many news sources are reporting over 9,000 dead - some of those sites are timing out, so we’ll put a link up for that number later. Though I just saw that Washington Time is reporting the toll at 9,500. And here we have reporting 10,000 dead.

    Slashdot has an interesting discussion on the earthquake here.

    Jeff Ooti remarks on the troubling news that there is silence from Myanmar - someone noted the same thing about Bangladesh earlier today.

    More local blogging of the quake here.

    * President Bush has been briefed on the situation:

    President Bush was briefed about the disaster while traveling from Camp David, Md., where his family spent Christmas, to his ranch in Crawford, Texas. White House Deputy Press Secretary Trent Duffy said the United States “stands ready to offer all appropriate assistance” to the nations most affected, inlcuding Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Thailand and Indonesia.

    “On behalf of the American people, the president expresses his sincere condolences for the terrible loss of life and suffering caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in the region of the Bay of Bengal,” Duffy said in a written statement.

    ———Updates 2:00 pm EST——

    Regarding Bangladesh, Keith Taylor writes:

    I’m waiting from reports from Bangladesh. The energy of the sea funneled into the Ganges Delta may have caused the river to break its banks. At the very least, the silty Delta will be flooded. At worst, 141 million people living on a flood plain the size of Iowa will be without potable water or edible crops.

    A heartbreaking story, one of many we will hear in the aftermath of this disaster: ‘I Lost My Family In The Blink Of An Eye’, Says Survivor

    Stay tuned for more updates.

    Posted by Michele at 01:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Earthquake Updates - Part II (7)

    [The previous post was getting a little long, so we’ve started a new one. Scroll through here other news of the earthquake] has up to the minute local news

    Keith Taylor has a comprehensive post on the mechanics of earthquakes and tsunamis.

    Reuters is now reporting over 6,000 dead - looking for a confirmation on that number. This link has the toll at 5,500.

    [Update: here’s the Reuters link that says 6,300 are dead as of now]

    A survivor’s tale

    70 tourists missing at Emerald Cave]

    Text of India’s Prime Minister’s statement on the quake

    Information on the “Ring of Fire” that encircles the Indian Ocean - link from At Any Street Corner, which has first hand accounts of the quake.

    A total of ten tremors were registered in the Indian Ocean last night:

    The first tremor was the strongest of all measured 8,5 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was close to the Western coast of Sumatra Island and happened at 00:58 local time (03:00 BG time). 9 people are reported dead as a result of the quake, there are collapsed buildings and telephone lines have been cut off. The powerful quake caused high tsunami waves that swept over Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Thailand. The waves reached Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore.
    There was a second tremor registered two hours later at 01:48 local time on Sumatra Island that measured 5,9 on Richter’s scale.
    Quake was registered at 02:15 in the region of Andaman Islands, India measured at 5,8 on the Richter scale. Only 7 minutes later the Nicobar Islands were shaken by a quake measured 6,0 on Richter’s scale. There were 5 additional tremors measured from 5,8 to 6,0 on the Richter scale that shook Sumatra and Andaman Islands.
    The Nicobar Islands were shaken at 04:21 by a quake with a magnitude of 7,3 on the Richter scale.

    Quotes from various articles/television reports:

    • “People that were snorkeling were dragged along the coral and washed up on the beach, and people that were sunbathing got washed into the sea.”
    • “I am afraid that there will be a high figure of foreigners missing in the sea and also my staff,” said Chan Marongtaechar, owner of the PP Princess Resort and PP Charlie Beach Resort.
    • “All the planet is vibrating” from the quake, said Enzo Boschi, the head of Italy’s National Geophysics Institute. Speaking on SKY TG24 TV, Boschi said the quake even disturbed the Earth’s rotation.
    • “The wave swept all settlements on the coast, and most houses, on stilts and made of wood, were either swept away or destroyed. Some areas were under between two and three meters of water for about two hours.”
    • “There is no guarantee that the tidal waves will not appear again,” said K. Kaushalya of the National Geophysical Laboratories in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh.

    Updates as of 10:36am EST

    More on the prisoners who escaped after the tsunami destroyed a jail.

    Aftershocks rock Andaman and Nicobar Islands

    Update on the Emerald Cave story; two snorkelers ded, 80 rescued.

    More on the toll in Thailand here.

    Fox News (TV) just put the death toll at 8,700+.

    [to be updated]

    Posted by Michele at 08:51 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    Earthquake Updates (8)

    [By the way, today is the one year anniversary of the Bam Earthquake that killed over 40,000]

    Check out this graphic from IRIS’s seismic monitor, which gives you an idea of what this earthquake was like compared to others.

    [click the image to go to a zoomable version of the map]

    You can also get a lot of earthquake related news/facts at that page.

    The death toll has been update to 3,700 - a number that will surely rise as the day goes on.

    Malaysian blogger Jeff Ooi has updates and links

    AFP now has the death toll at over 4,000


    Updates as of 8:10 am EST

    • There are reports of looting, and 200 prisoners in Matara escaped after their prison was destroyed by a tidal wave (update: here it says 300 prisoners).
    • Reports are that the popular resort, Laguna Beach (crowded with holiday tourists this time of year), is completely wiped out.

    Here’s an image from BBC news, showing the wide area of the quake:


    Reuters has upped the death toll to 4,500

    Another clickable map
    , plus a timetable of when/where the quake struck and the magnitude in each region.

    Yahoo slideshow

    Reuters photos

    Posted by Michele at 07:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Earthquake: Death Toll Breakdown

    • Sri Lanka: About 1,677 reported dead, up to one million displaced. Massive tidal waves smash coastal villages.
    • India: About 1,100 reported dead. Huge waves leave southern beaches strewn with bodies. Some flooding.
    • Indonesia: 408 reported dead. Towns levelled and bodies wedged in trees by walls of water. Aceh province on Sumatra island was near the Indonesian quake’s epicentre and was the hardest-hit in the vast archipelago.
    • Thailand: 158 reported dead and many missing, mostly in southern islands packed with holidaymakers from around the world at the height of this country’s tourist season.
    • Malaysia: 25 people, including an unknown number of foreign tourists, reported dead. Tens of thousands are temporarily evacuated from hotels and apartments after the Indonesian quake was felt around peninsular Malaysia. No major damage reported.
    • Maldives: Tourist suffered heart attack as floods hit. Much of this low-lying country is reportedly inundated. The country’s only international airport is closed.

    [will be updated as necessary]


    Posted by Michele at 07:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Over 4,000 Dead

    Agence France Presse now reports the death toll at over 4,000.

    This earthquake struck a year to the day after a quake in the Iranian city of Bam killed over 30,000 people.

    From California Yankee.

    Posted by Dan Spencer at 06:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    First-Hand Account of the Earthquake

    An e-mail from a mate of mine (we worked together on FedSat) :

    Hi Everyone,

    This is a picture of the beach near home … see The Hindu for newspaper article.


    From left, there is the main road. You see the little horizontal road near the bottom of the picture going from the main road onto the brown beach road. Yukta and I every day drive our car into that section (now under water) and park there while walking along the water’s edge on the far right of the picture.

    In the brown car park section that is now under water, there were cars picked up and thrown over the fence separating it from the main road.

    Last night Yukta and I were walking there with a friend, laughing and chatting and playing fools in the soft sand enjoying the breeze.

    I had planned to go walking on the beach with Yukta’s father this morning at about 7am while Yukta and her mother went to gym, but we cancelled because Yukta’s mother felt like relaxing instead of going. Wave came at 6:45am.

    Yukta’s parents felt the earthquake this morning … they said it felt as though the bed was on a swing for 5-7 seconds. Hehe, I was waaay to fast asleep.

    The wave(s) that came were 4-5 m high. If they could pick up those cars and throw them over the fence, we wouldn’t have had a chance.

    Lots of fishermen live on the beach with their wives and babies in tiny little tents they make from branches and cloth. Their heavy canoe-like boats rest on logs just at the water line and you can walk past them watching them take little fish from their nets. These people would have been washed away, as well as at least the 50 reported morning-walkers. Estimates for total deaths on this beach is at least 100.

    Catchya later,


    Posted by Alan Brain at 06:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Earthquake Death Toll Continues to Rise

    From :

    The quake’s magnitude was raised to 8.9 from 8.5 by the U.S. Geological Survey on its Web site, making it the strongest earthquake in 40 years. Nine aftershocks measuring between 5.8 and 7.3 spread across a zone from Sumatra to India’s Andaman Islands within four hours of the initial jolt, it said.

    At least 1,000 people in Sri Lanka died when tsunami waves smashed into the island, according to Agence France-Presse. Fifty- five people, mostly tourists at southern beaches, died in Thailand, Interior Ministry official Sermasak Phongphanich told reporters. More than 500 people died in southern India, and deaths were reported in Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Andamans.

    The Indonesia earthquake, which struck about 7 a.m. local time, was centered offshore about 1,605 kilometers (1,000 miles) northwest of Jakarta at a depth of 10 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The death toll in Indonesia from flattened buildings and flash floods has risen to 100, AFP reported. Phone lines and electricity have been cut off.
    I’m afraid the number is going to increase,” Budi Waluyo, an official at the National Earthquake Center said of the death toll in Indonesia. “We are having problems communicating with people there.

    Bad as it is, it could have been vastly, immensely worse. There are no reports so far of Tsunami devastation from Bangladesh. From The Scotsman :

    Meanwhile, a powerful earthquake jolted a wide area of Bangladesh yesterday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, news reports and weather officials said.

    The magnitude 7.36 temblor struck the southern port city of Chittagong, according to a statement by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said. Bangladesh lacks equipment to determine the epicentre of the quake.

    Media reports said the quake was felt in the central, southern and western parts of the country, including the capital Dhaka.

    Big quakes are rare in Bangladesh, a delta nation of 140 million people in South Asia.

    A tidal wave of the same magnitude that hit Southern India could have killed millions of people (this was my fear when I heard the first reports). Cross fingers, and hope that No News is Good News.

    From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    The Sri Lankan Government declared a state of disaster as at least 1,000 people were killed after huge waves battered the country’s eastern and southern coastlines, swamping entire villages.
    Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil told the Press Trust of India around 1,000 people were dead in south India.

    In Indonesia, government officials said at least 150 had been killed but warned they expected the death toll to rise substantially
    At least 99 people were killed and more than 1,300 were wounded in southern Thailand, with many of the deaths occurring in the idyllic tourist islands of Phuket and Phi Phi.
    In Malaysia, six people drowned and several others were missing after being swept away by a tidal wave in the north-western resort island of Penang, a popular destination with foreign tourists, police and rescue officials said.

    From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    More than 100 tourists on diving holidays are missing on islands off southern Thailand following Sunday’s tsunamis, about 70 of them in the famed Emeral Cave, a tourist official said.

    We don’t know whether they are dead or alive,” the official told Reuters from the southern city of Trang.

    The Emeral Cave, which contains a tiny white sand beach and water turned emerald by sunshine through a hole in the top, is a major attraction for divers who have to swim underwater to get into it.

    Graphics from the USGS

    Posted by Alan Brain at 04:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Earthquake now rated 8.9 on Richter scale

    From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    The earthquake of magnitude 8.9 as measured by the US Geological Survey first struck at 7:59am local time off the coast of the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra and swung north with multiple tremors into the Andaman islands in the Indian Ocean.

    The US Geological Survey says it is the fifth biggest earthquake since 1900.

    A wall of water up to 10 metres high set off by the tremor swept into Indonesia, over the coast of Sri Lanka and India and along the southern Thai tourist island of Phuket, leaving at least 650 people feared dead, officials said.

    The earthquake was the world’s biggest since 1965, said Julie Martinez, geophysicist for the US Geological Survey.

    It is multiple earthquakes along the same faultline,” she said.

    The worst-hit area appeared to be the tourist region of Sri Lanka’s south and east and the chairman of the John Keells hotel chain said five of his hotels had been badly flooded.

    At least 500 were feared dead in Sri Lanka, the National Disaster Management Centre said.

    “According to the information we have so far, 500 people have been killed and the death toll is going to be high - it will likely be over 1,000,” said N D Hettiarachchi, director of the centre.
    Officials now say 84 are dead and 400 wounded in southern Thailand.
    Along the southern Indian coast, as many as 74 people were killed and many injured by a tsunami there, hospital and government officials said.

    Officials said 400 fishermen were missing in the south.
    Two people died and some 100 people were hurt in the capital of India’s Andaman islands when tidal waves hit, the state’s chief secretary said.
    The wave swept into the low-lying Maldive islands whose coral atolls are a magnet for tourists, flooding two-thirds of the capital Male, said chief government spokesman Dr Ahmed Shaheed.

    The damage is considerable. The island is only about three feet above sea level and a wave of water four feet high swept over us,” he said.

    It is a very bad situation. It is terrible,” he said.

    We have no communications with some of the outlying atolls. At this stage we fear the worst. We are trying to send boats to assess the damage, but our resources are stretched to the limit.
    As many as 72 people were killed and 79 injured on in Indonesia’s Aceh province on northern Sumatra island, local government and hospital officials said.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 04:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Damage Reports from Massive Earthquake

    The Maldives : From The Australian :

    The Indian Ocean tourist paradise of the Maldives was hit by tidal waves, inundating low-lying islands, following an earthquake that struck Indonesia, but there were no immediate reports of casualties, officials here said.

    Sri Lanka’s international airport said they were told by authorities in the neighbouring Maldives that tidal waves had flooded the Hululle airport island and the runway was closed indefinitely.

    Residents of the Maldivian capital, Male, contacted by telephone, said most of the capital was also flooded.

    There were no immediate reports of casualties.


    Sri Lanka : From the AFP via The Australian :

    At least 214 people were killed in northeastern Sri Lanka today when tsunami tidal waves caused by a massive earthquake off Indonesia swept through the region, relief official M D Rodrigo told AFP.

    At least 200 bodies were taken to a rural hospital at Muttur, Rodrigo said, adding that another 14 bodies were at the main district hospital in Trincomalee, 260km northeast of Colombo.

    There is no way we can send relief to the village of Muttur except by helicopter,” Rodrigo said, adding that he feared the toll could climb.

    Hundreds of people were also reported missing in other coastal regions of the island.

    The casualties could be higher,” Rodrigo said. He said water level was going down leaving a massive trail of destruction. A large number of people were also believed to be missing.

    Tsunamis in the southern Thailand resort of Phuket meanwhile left at least four foreign tourists missing after they were swept out to sea.

    Indian officials, meanwhile, also reported deaths after two people drowned when swamped by a tidal wave in Agarpara in West Bengal state, about 25km from the capital city of Calcutta

    UPDATE :

    Thailand : From CNN :

    The victims were in Songkhla, Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga and Surat Thani provinces, which draw thousands of visitors each year because of their world-famous beaches.

    The center earlier reported that some people had been swept away off a Phuket beach by tidal waves surging as high as five meters (16 feet) after an 8.5-magnitude earthquake hit near the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

    Several southern Thai resorts were flooded. On Phang-Nga, another popular tourist area near Phuket, people sought refuge from the floods on rooftops. Cars were carried away by rising waters in neighboring Krabi, Sorajak said.

    Watcharat Hospital in Phuket was full, with many foreigners coming from hotels on popular Kamala and Patong beaches, said a hospital official who declined to be named.

    The tourists have told hospital officials that they were sitting on the beach when the tsunami suddenly appeared. They said a lot of people died, and at least 30 boats filled with tourists were lost at sea.

    India : Also from CNN :

    At least 63 people were killed and more than 250 fishermen were missing at sea Sunday after high tidal waves caused by a massive earthquake in Indonesia hit parts of southern India on Sunday, officials said.

    At least 36 people were killed in three districts of Andhra Pradesh state and 27 in neighboring Tamil Nadu, they said.

    At least 200 fishermen from Andhra Pradesh were missing at sea while another 50 from Tamil Nadu were unaccounted for.

    Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. Rajashekhar Reddy told reporters that 22 people were killed in Krishna district, 12 in Prakasam district and two in West Godavari.

    This is the impact of the earthquake in Indonesia this morning. There were tidal waves in the sea and the entire coastal belt from Vishakhapatnam to Nellore (districts) has been effected,” he said. The tidal waves rose as high as 2 meters (6.56 feet) in some places.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 03:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Huge Earthquake in Indian Ocean

    Reports are still coming in, heavy casualties from tsunamis are reported as far away as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhangla Dhesh, and Indonesia.

    From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

    The US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Centre put the tremor at 8.5, which would make it one of the largest in history, off the west coast of Sumatra while the Strasbourg Observatory in France said the tremor hit 8.0 and was located north of the island.

    Jakarta’s Meteorology and Geophysics Office put the quake at 6.8 saying it was centred in the Indian Ocean, 149 kilometres south of Meulaboh, a town on the western coast of Aceh.

    Confirmed death toll is already in the hundreds, but thousands are reported missing.

    From the ABC article:

    Sri Lanka’s eastern and southern coastline was one of the worst hit areas, with rescuers saying at least 162 people had been killed by tidal waves that battered villages.

    Police in India said at least 26 people died when a wall of water caused by the the quake struck the country’s south-eastern shores.

    Sri Lankan relief official M.D. Rodrigo said workers found at least 150 bodies in the Muslim village of Muttur while another 10 were found in the town of Trincomalee which went under several feet of sea water.
    BBC reporter Roland Buerk was in southern Sri Lanka when the waves struck.

    “We made our way out of the hotel through the incredible rushing waters,” he said.

    “First of all we climbed up into a tree for a couple of minutes, but then that began to fall down because of the water. We were swept along for a few hundred metres, tried to dodge the motorcycles and refrigerators and the cars that were coming with it and finally about 300 metres inshore we managed to get hold of a pillar which we held onto and then the waters gradually began to subside.

    But this has caused incredible devastation here, there are cars in trees, buildings destroyed.”
    Western Australian MP John Hyde is holidaying in Phuket and he says the tidal waves caught people off guard.

    People are doubly stunned because at 8:00am, when the first earthquake came, a couple of people came out and talked, and people seemed to go back for breakfast or go down to the beach and then two hours later, bang, the first tidal wave came through,” he said.

    Out of nowhere, suddenly the streets are awash and people just running and screaming from the beach. Our hotel is about 150 metres from the beach, and the water was lapping on the doorsteps, one metre above the road.”
    Waves up to five metres high hit the coast of Aceh forcing hundreds to flee to higher ground. Witnesses said the toll was expected to rise.

    More as details emerge.

    Posted by Alan Brain at 02:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack