RTE News

Tsunami disaster death toll climbs to 120,000

30 December 2004 15:59

The death toll from last weekend's tsunami in the Indian Ocean now stands at more than 120,000.

Indonesia has said there have been fresh aftershocks in the northwestern Sumatran province of Aceh, where the death toll from the weekend tsunami now stands at 80,000.

Sri Lanka, which was also badly hit, has raised its toll by almost 3,000 people to over 27,000.

There is growing concern that relief agencies are unable to reach some of the remoter districts throughout the eastern Indian Ocean area which bore the brunt of the tidal waves caused by the underwater earthquake.

Local officials are reporting that many survivors are becoming ill with respiratory problems, diarrhoea, skin irritations and cuts.

Panic follows wave warning

An Indian minister has said a government warning of a new tidal wave was issued without much thought.

The warning sparked fresh scenes of panic in southern India and Sri Lanka, and caused thousands of people to flee coastal areas, although no tidal surge materialised.

India's junior minister for science and technology, Kapil Sibal, said he had forwarded a message received from a US-based company to the Home Ministry mentioning the possibility of a fresh quake.

Thousands missing

Thousands of European tourists are still missing.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has said around 20 Irish people remain unaccounted for in the region.

So far, there have been no confirmed deaths among Irish visitors.

The Swedish government is unable to account for 1,500 of its citizens. A national day of mourning will be held in Sweden on Saturday.

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