Tsunami toll nears 40,000

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:29 am

The South-East Asian tsunami death toll is now estimated at 36,954. Consider that for a second or so, and then consider this: it’s feared the toll could rise to 57,000.

Reuters (hit the above link) provides a nation-by-nation count, which it cautions is preliminary:

Bangladesh: 2

India: 9,499

Indonesia: 7,072

Kenya: 1

Malaysia: 65

Maldives: 52

Myanmar: 36

Somalia: 38

Sri Lanka: 18,706

Tanzania: 10

Thailand: 1,473

That count includes 5,000 dead on islands off India. Reuters also supplies projected totals, which one prays are exaggerated:

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 2000.

Only 112 dead foreigners had been identified. They included 22 French people, 13 Norwegians, 12 Britons, 11 Italians and 10 Swedes, 9 Japanese and 8 Americans, as well as tourists from Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and Taiwan.

UPDATE. Perth reporter (and former blogger) Gareth Parker e-mails an account of the disaster:

Michael Hynes, a British tourist, arrived at Perth International Airport early Tuesday morning, dazed, clutching two carry-on bags, and lucky to be alive.

The London resident was staying in a bungalow at Phuket’s Patong Beach just metres from the shore. Hundreds of people around Thailand’s major beach resorts have been killed.

Mr Hynes escaped with only bruising to his arms where a couple of Thai men had tried to drag him up on to a roof. At a nearby hospital though the scene resembled a war zone.

“The hospital was totally covered in blood,” he said. “They were rolling in dead bodies on pick-up trucks all the time. I saw at least 20 bodies come in.”

Posted by Tim B. on 12/29/2004 at 01:12 AM
    1. tim, FoxNews reports 44,000 dead.


      I hope it’s wrong.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 12/29 at 01:28 AM • #


    1. About 36 hours ago, when deaths were still in 4 figures, I put the upper bound at about 100,000, and the lower bound at 40,000. I’m very much afraid the total will be closer to 100,000 than 40,000 and I may have underestimated. It’s now over 45,000 at last report.

      There’s too many isolated areas not heard from, and we’re discovering that sometimes it’s because there’s nothing there any more.

      We still haven’t got contact with the west coast of Aceh, which could reasonably be expected to be the worst affected. There’s a hundred thousand people there. Or were.

      There’s also too many undocumented and impoverished coastal dwellers in all nations who eyewitnesses say just vanished beneath the water. We can only estimate how many by the number of otherwise unidentified bodies that are washed up in the coming days.

      Damn Damn and again Damn.

      But I have to say, it could have been so very much worse. In 1970, a tidal surge caused by a storm killed 500,000 people in Bangladesh, and that was far smaller than the surge that hit Sri Lanka. Had the same waves that hit Sri Lanka the day before yesterday hit Bangladesh, deaths would be in multiple millions. Instead there’s… 2. Not 2 million, 2. If you believe in God, now would be a really appropriate time to give thanks, amidst the tragedy. Even if it’s 100,000 deaths, it could easily have been 100 times worse.

      But oh those poor people.

      Posted by aebrain on 12/29 at 03:25 AM • #


    1. Did anyone else see that doco on mega-tsunamis that was on Discovery or Learning Channel (can’t remember which) a few years back? One of the Canary Islands has an unstable cliff face facing the Atlantic Ocean. The theory is that an earthquake could cause that cliff face to slide into the ocean, triggering a tsunami that would race across the ocean and build to thirty stories or higher. Goodbye, East Coast USA.

      Posted by Dave S. on 12/29 at 03:47 AM • #


    1. I received the following information from the Embassy of Sri Lanka:

      Sri Lanka Disaster Relief Fund

      Contributions to the ongoing Sri Lanka relief efforts can be made by cash, check or wire transfer.

      Checks and wire transfers should be made out to �Sri Lanka Disaster Relief Fund�
      Please note that deposits can be made at any Wachovia Bank or branch.

      Wachovia Bank,
      1300 I Street, NW,
      Washington DC 20005

      Swift: PNBPUS33

      ABA#: 054001220

      Account: 2000024529976

      Posted by ErnieG on 12/29 at 03:57 AM • #


    1. I strongly suspect that Myanmar’s government is lying about how many people thye have lost, it is surely far higher.  I hope they relief agencies can make sure that the disaster isn’t compounded by disease and clean water shortages.

      Posted by Ross on 12/29 at 07:33 AM • #


    1. Dave: Urban Legend

      Posted by Yobbo on 12/29 at 03:12 PM • #


    1. Damn, is it? I’ll check Snopes. It was a pretty convincing and legitimate-looking documentary. I’m usually not suckered by these things, but if I was, apologies and thanks for the heads-up.

      Posted by Dave S. on 12/30 at 04:15 AM • #


  1. Yobbo, I couldn’t find it on Snopes, but I did a Google search and found this:


    (sorry, I’m html illiterate)

    It’s legit enough for the Beeb’s science channel.

    Posted by Dave S. on 12/30 at 04:21 AM • #