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Disaster in SE asia


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KILLER TSUNAMI: Trail of death and destruction as earthquake

off Sumatra creates giant waves that smash coastal areas

of Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Maldives,

Myanmar and Bangladesh.



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crying.gifcrying.gifcrying.gif My family and I watched our new DVD "Day after Tomorrow on Christmas night, having never seen it before, and woke to the news of this disaster the next day,..... there are terrible storms all over the US, with places like Texas and the Carolinas getting snow... really scared us. I felt like the movie was coming true...

To all those with family and friends in the disaster, my heart goes out to you... be strong for them and never lose hope!!

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huh.gif !!!!!!

Link to news story claiming: Disaster compared to scene from Bible


Disaster compared to scene from Bible

Planet rotation said affected by massive 9.0 magnitude quake, resulting tidal waves


Posted: December 26, 2004

8:20 p.m. Eastern

© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

The largest earthquake in the past 40 years and the resulting deaths of thousands from 33-foot tidal waves are being compared by an American reporter to descriptions of disaster from Holy Scripture.

"The speed with which it all happened seemed like a scene from the Bible – a natural phenomenon unlike anything I had experienced before," said Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs, who was swimming off a Sri Lankan island when the disaster struck this morning.

"As the waters rose at an incredible rate, I half expected to catch sight of Noah's Ark. Instead of the Ark, I grabbed hold of a wooden catamaran that the local people used as a fishing boat. My brother jumped on the boat, next to me. We bobbed up and down on the catamaran, as the water rushed past us into the village beyond the road."

Officials at the U.S. Geological Survey the 9.0 quake centered off the Indonesian island of Sumatra was the world's fifth-largest since 1900 and the biggest since a 9.2 temblor hit Prince William Sound Alaska in 1964.

The temblor sparked a tsunami, a series of giant walls of water which left more than 14,000 dead in six countries, with the death toll continuing to rise.

Dobbs gives a first-person account of the dramatic event in the Post:

Disaster struck with no warning out of a faultlessly clear blue sky. ... 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." ...

In less than a minute, the water level had risen at least 15 feet – but the sea itself remained calm, barely a wave in sight. ...

After a few minutes, the water stopped rising, and I felt it was safe to swim to the shore. What I didn't realize was that the floodwaters would recede as dramatically as they had risen.

All of a sudden, I found myself being swept out to sea with startling speed. Although I am a fairly strong swimmer, I was unable to withstand the current. The fishing boats around me had been torn from their moorings and were furiously bobbing up and down.

For the first time, I felt afraid, powerless to prevent myself from being swept out to sea.

I swam in the direction of one of the loose catamarans, grabbed hold of the hull, and pulled myself to safety. My weight must have slowed the boat down and soon I was stranded on the sand.

As the water rushed out of the bay, I scrambled onto the main road. Screams and yells were coming from the houses behind the road, many of which were still half full of water, trapping the inhabitants inside. Villagers were walking dazed along the road, unable to comprehend what had taken place.

I was worried about my wife who had been on the beach at the time I went for my swim. I eventually found her walking along the road, dazed and happy to be alive. She had been trying to wade back to our island, when the water had carried her across the road and into someone's back yard. At one point she was underwater, struggling for breath. She finally grabbed onto a piece of rope and climbed into a tree, while the waters raged beneath her.

An Italian scientist says the earthquake was so strong, it even disturbed the rotation of the Earth.

"All the planet is vibrating," Enzo Boschi, head of Italy's National Geophysics Institute said on SKY TG24 TV.

The U.S. State Department says at least three Americans are confirmed dead, two in Sri Lanka and one in Thailand.

A written statement from the White House says "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."

Relief agencies say the full scale of the disaster is impossible to assess, since communications have been cut to remote areas.

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I saw a couple of clips on TWC last night and they showed hundreds of people running away from one of the waves. blink.gif Most of them were knocked down and swept away, it was very disturbing.

Hopefully, the technology used to detect tsunami in the Pacific can be utilized in the Indian Ocean as well. Lets face it, there is no way to battle tsunami other than evacuation and an early detection system hopefully will save lives in the future.

My heart goes out to all who lost family, friends and their source of livelihood.

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UK News night just released a new figure, 23,000 and riseing evrey minute.

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I hope the person/people who prevented a warning system from being implemented get what's coming to them. *grumble*

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Massive aid effort gets under way

The United Nations has begun its largest ever relief operation in response to the Asian quake disaster.

Disaster assessment teams have fanned out to the affected countries and local branches are distributing emergency aid, says the organisation.

The UN says it faces an unprecedented challenge in co-ordinating distribution of aid to some 10 nations at one time.

A massive undersea earthquake triggered sea surges that killed at least 25,000 people, with thousands still missing.

Millions of people are homeless, and the disaster zone is now threatened with outbreaks of disease.

Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand were among the worst hit by Sunday's 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which sent huge waves from Malaysia to Africa.

The extent of the disaster in some remote regions is not yet known, as many places are still affected by flooding and disrupted communications.

Though it was not the biggest tsunami wave ever recorded, "the effects may be the biggest ever because many more people live in exposed areas than ever before", said UN emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland.

He said the relief operation would probably cost "many billions of dollars".

His colleague, Yvette Stevens, said the UN had not carried out an operation like it before.

"We are used to dealing with disasters in one country, but I think something like this spread across many countries and islands is unprecedented."

Digging for dead

Hundreds of planes carrying emergency aid will be airborne within the next couple of days, Mr Egeland said.

In Sri Lanka alone, more than one million people are displaced and aid workers are under pressure to ensure they have clean water and sanitation to prevent an outbreak of disease.

The local UN agency has opened up its relief stockpiles, and planes carrying emergency supplies from nine countries, including Britain, France and the US, were due to arrive on Tuesday.

The Sri Lankan government has warned that the death toll could well rise to 20,000.

"The scale of the tragedy is massive ... this is a grave tragedy which we have not been prepared for," Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga told the BBC.

Communities were swept away and homes engulfed by waves up to 10m high after the quake created a wall of water that sped across the oceans.

Many of the victims had no warning. Fishermen were swept from boats, and tourists were washed from the beaches.

In Thailand, officials warn the death toll there may double to 2,000 after rescue workers found scenes of devastation in Khao Lak, north of the resort island of Phuket.

Witnesses spoke of bodies strewn along the shoreline, and 500 staff and guests in one hotel alone were reported missing.

Hundreds of spectators were believed to have drowned at a sports field in Aceh, northern Indonesia.

The vice-president has warned that fatalities in the province, which is nearest to the quake's epicentre and among the worst hit, could rise as high as 25,000.

Thousands are also feared to have been killed on the Andaman and Nicobar islands, where reports say several islands have been submerged.

Waves also swept the Somali coastline after nightfall on Sunday, where hundreds are feared drowned and thousands made homeless, officials said.

A national disaster has been announced in the low-lying Maldives islands, more than 2,500km (1,500 miles) from the quake's epicentre, after they were hit by severe flooding.

Sunday's tremor - the fourth strongest since 1900 - had a particularly widespread effect because it seems to have taken place just below the surface of the ocean, analysts say.

Experts say tsunamis generated by earthquakes can travel at up to 500km/h.

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Hundreds dead in Thai resort

Thailand's authorities have said more than 700 people have been retrieved from the Khao Lak resort in northern Phuket following Sunday's sea surges.

Many of the bodies have been pulled out from rooms of the Sofitel hotel, popular with French tourists.

Thailand's official death toll stands at 1,010 but the discoveries at Khao Lak could push that figure much higher.

There have been reports of bloated bodies scattered across beaches and hanging from trees in the area.

Children separated

"There is a totally apocalyptic landscape before us," a correspondent for Europe 1 radio reported.

He said only a few walls of the Sofitel still remained standing and that soldiers were still pulling out people from hotel's 319 rooms.

Deputy Interior Minister Sutham Saengpratoom estimated he had seen more than 1,000 bodies on the beach in the area when he flew over it on Monday and that number would make it the most severely hit resort in Thailand.

As well as the dead, many children have also been separated from their parents.

Authorities are still trying to identify a blond-haired boy found not far from Khao Lak.

Bejkhajorn Saithong, 39, told Reuters news agency he was searching for the body of his wife at the Ban Khao Lak Hotel, where body parts are jutting from the wreckage.

"My son is crying for his mother. I think this is her. I recognise her hand, but I'm not sure," he said.

A police patrol boat was reported to be stuck in a tree 1km from the shore.

Chantima Saengli, the owner of the devastated Blue Village Pagarang hotel, told local radio she feared 340 of her 400 Scandinavian guests were dead.

The island of Phi Phi, famous as the location of the film The Beach, is also reported to have been devastated.

At least 200 tourists and islanders were airlifted from the island by helicopter on Monday, but scores more are still missing.

A photographer with the AFP news agency, who reached the island on Monday, said hardly a building had been left standing.

"I see one building standing and it is the Phi Phi hotel," he said.

Tourism is one of Thailand's most important industries, with hundreds of thousands of tourists drawn to its beaches each year.

In neighbouring Malaysia, at least 50 people were reported killed after the tidal waves hit. Most of the dead were in the holiday resort of Penang.

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Many missing as waves hit Africa

Hundreds of Somalis are feared to have drowned in the massive waves produced by Sunday's undersea earthquake off the coast of Indonesia.

A government spokesman said settlements along Somalia's coast had been flooded by the rising waters.

"Coastal towns have been swept away by the waves and there is severe damage to property," Yusuf Ismail said.

Waves which swept 7,000km (4,000 miles) from the epicentre, also struck Kenya, Mauritius, Reunion and the Seychelles.

About 100 Somali fishermen have not returned after putting out to sea on Sunday.

"The bodies of 48 people have been recovered," rural development minister in Somalia's north-east state of Puntland, Ali Abdi Awari, told BBC News.

Somali elders gathering information on two-way radios and local journalists put the death toll at more than 50 people, although Mr Ismail said the deaths on land alone in the central and north-eastern areas could be "in the hundreds".

The government - which is currently based in Kenya as it is considered too dangerous for ministers to return to Mogadishu - has called for aid.

Bridge damaged

In the Kenyan port town of Malindi, where a 20-year-old swimmer reportedly drowned, fishermen ventured back in the water on Monday to gather the remains of their boats.

Beaches that were closed on Sunday reopened, amid government warnings to tourists to take precautions.

There was also damage in the Seychelles where a bridge linking the main airport and capital Victoria was destroyed while a village in northern Mauritius was submerged for almost three hours following the surges.

"I am asking people to remain calm and help those in need," Seychelles President James Michel said in a television address.

About 15 fishing boats were damaged in the French territory of Reunion.

Officials in Tanzania and its semi-autonomous Zanzibar and Pemba islands are giving hourly warnings, advising fishermen to look out for more waves.

The British government warned its citizens in Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Kenya and Tanzania to be alert for potential danger from the sea surges.

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Appeal for tsunami victims

Sri Lankans in Wales are launching their own appeal to help those affected by the giant wave which has claimed thousands of lives in Asia.

Daisy Lowe, from the Sri Lankan Association of South Wales, said people were doing what they could to help.

Meanwhile, Welsh tourists have been speaking of their terror when the tsunami hit on Sunday.

And many families in Wales have been anxiously waiting for news of loved ones caught up in the disaster.

International aid efforts have begun amid fears that disease could spread through the disaster zone.

Ms Lowe said she was flying out on Tuesday to assess the situation.

"I would like to investigate what is happening there and what the needs are, so that any relief efforts can be targeted at the right people," she said.

She added they were collecting money, which they would then be donated to the Sri Lankan Red Cross society.

"We do not know what we need - later we will maybe appeal for clothing and goods for shipping to Sri Lanka," she said.

"As Sri Lankans living in Wales, we feel we would like to do our little bit."

One of the people from Wales who was in Sri Lanka when the tragedy happened was Davinder Singh, from Swansea, who said people had been "dumbstruck" by the disaster.

Mr Singh, from the Mount Pleasant area of the city, has been working in Sri Lanka at an elephant sanctuary since November.

"The devastation is unreal - people's homes have been destroyed," he said.

And Ffion Haf, from Merthyr Tydfil, was on the Thai island of Ko Lanta with her partner.

"It was like something you see in films," she said.

"It was not until it started coming towards the shore that we realised the ferocity of it."

Relatives and friends of travellers from Wales caught up in the chaos are waiting anxiously for news.

An emergency telephone number - 020 7008 0000 - has been set up for those concerned about relatives.

Many thousands of people in countries around the rim of the Indian Ocean have been killed by tidal waves, triggered by the powerful earthquake.

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Thirteen Britons killed by quake

Thirteen Britons have died and thousands more are stranded in south and east Asia after a huge earthquake sent massive waves across the region.

Eight died in Thailand, four in Sri Lanka and one in the Maldives, said the Foreign Office. They have not yet been named, as relatives are being informed.

BBC correspondent Paul Adams warned there was "every likelihood that figure would rise".

At least 23,000 people are reported dead across the region altogether.

A planeload of supplies from the UK Government, including plastic sheeting and tents, arrived in Sri Lanka overnight on Monday.

Further emergency aid supplies worth £100,000 will be flown to Asia from the UK on Tuesday as part of a massive humanitarian relief effort.


0207 008 0000 - for information on friends and relatives

0870 6060290 - for flight details or travel advice

An Oxfam charter plane carrying 27 tonnes of equipment, including apparatus to set up emergency drinking water systems for homeless families, will fly to Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

The British Red Cross is also due to send out aid planes to the region.

About 10,000 Britons are estimated to have been holidaying in the southern Asian region during this peak season.

Although the official figure of dead Britons was 13, the number of confirmed dead could already be more, the BBC's Paul Adams said.

David Fall, the British ambassador in Thailand, told BBC News one of the problems was that so many people had their belongings, such as passports and identification washed away, it has been very difficult to identify the dead.

Returning flights

The brother of a conservationist who apparently perished in the Asian disaster has paid tribute to a "beautiful sister".

Writing on the BBC News website, Chris Jones, from Windsor in Berkshire, said his 31-year-old sister Lisa died when the tsunami hit the tiny Koh Phra Thong island in Thailand.

He said the island had been evacuated but that her body was still there and he had heard nothing from the Foreign Office.

Flights have begun bringing British survivors back to London and Manchester from the region.

Speaking at Manchester Airport on Tuesday morning, June White, 44, said she and her family had to hide inside a wardrobe in their over-water bungalow in Male in the Maldives until the water subsided.

"We were just in a panic, it was pandemonium for a few hours," she said.

Relief supplies

At London Gatwick Airport, Louise Davies, 34, from Lincolnshire, told of the devastation in Galle, Sri Lanka.

"We saw local people pulling their dead loved ones from the rubble," she said.

"These people desperately need help."

Mick Byrne, 42, from Brighton, had been staying on Phuket in Thailand with his wife and daughter.

"There were bodies floating in and out of the sea. It was like a holocaust, like something out of a horror film, it was absolutely terrible," he said at London Heathrow airport.

Several officials from the Department for International Development are in the region determining what kind of help is most urgently needed.


The Foreign Office has set up a phone number - 0207 008 0000 - for those worried about friends and relatives.

A spokesman urged people to only call that number for information about loved ones only, rather than for flight information or travel advice.

The Foreign Office has advised against any travel to the Maldives and to the affected parts of Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh.

It said further advice can be found on its website or by calling 0870 6060290, while flight details should be obtained from airports or travel operators.

The Phuket hospital has a website listing the names of people it is treating, and links to lists of those being treated elsewhere in Thailand.

]According to the website, 96 Britons are being treated, with more than 60 in emergency care.

In Sri Lanka, a crisis centre has been set up to handle calls from concerned relatives and can be reached on 00 94 11 437 061 and 00 94 11 474 0220. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to sltourism@yahoo.com.

A spokeswoman for the British Embassy in New Delhi, India, said no Britons had been reported hurt in that country.

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Many hundreds of Israelis are still missing crying.gif, though I'm glad to say that two of my sister's friend manage to make contact with their families, and they are all right original.gif.

Though there are many other people who I'm afraid will not be as lucky sad.gif.

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I am pleased your sisters friends are okay.

Unfortunately my friend still has not found his friend who is now presumed dead. And its awful because there is nothing anyone can do over here for him.

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I'm sorry to hear tha Lottie, I really am sad.gif.

I hope that everything will turn out ok for your friend. My sympathy with him.

There are now 12 Israelis confirmed dead, 30 wounded found.

600 hundred Israelis are unaccountable for sad.gif.

200 are now feared dead crying.gif.

The island of Sumatra, btw, has moved 100 feet south-western of his last location due the earthquake of magnitude 9.

The entire planet's rotation was distrupted by the quake.

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7 Australians have been confirmed dead...tragic thing is that more than half were kids sad.gif Three missing IIRC.

I hope the person/people who prevented a warning system from being implemented get what's coming to them. *grumble*

Early warning system would be useless.

These areas are so congested that even if there was an alarm raised thousands still would have died.

Why do humans insist on planting themselves in hazardous areas then complain when nature gives them a kick in the pants?

I think of this as natures way of saying to humanity: "you don't belong here...time to move!" WHOOOOOSH!

Edited by Mad Manfred
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7 Australians have been confirmed dead...tragic thing is that more than half were kids sad.gif Three missing IIRC.

Yeah most of the Israelis who perished are unmarried in their early 20s.

One was a baby! sad.gif

Why do humans insist on planting themselves in hazardous areas then complain when nature gives them a kick in the pants?

I think of this as natures way of saying to humanity: "you don't belong here...time to move!" WHOOOOOSH!

While generaly I would agree, this time it isn't so - those places are actually not pronoe to tsunamis, as oppose to the pacific, which btw is the reason the pacific ocean has lots of sensors to detect tsunamis while the Indian ocean has none hmm.gif.

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Scottish aid springs into action

Aid has already started to arrive to victims in the stricken regions

Scottish aid agencies have joined the international relief effort to help the thousands affected by the tsunamis in south and east Asia.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) has donated £25,000 to the cause and will use it to provide food, water and shelter for survivors.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Fleming of Oxfam in Scotland has flown out to Sri Lanka to help with the humanitarian response.

The Scottish Executive plans to offer what help it can to agencies.

Latest estimates claim at least 25,000 people have died with thousands still missing after the largest earthquake for 40 years sent massive waves across the region.


0207 008 0000

At least 10 countries have been affected, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Thailand and countries along the east coast of Africa, as the death toll continues to rise.

Whole communities were swept away without warning and homes and buildings were engulfed by walls of water after the earthquake struck in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The United Nations has since warned it will need the biggest relief operation ever mounted to help those affected by the disaster.

Sciaf said its money will be channelled through the worldwide network of Catholic aid agencies, of which it is a member.

It already carries out work in some of the worst-affected areas like Tamil Nadu in India and hopes it will be able to raise more money through its website and with the help from the executive.

It is hard to imagine the scale of devastation and human tragedy caused by this earthquake

Jack McConnell

First Minister

Chief executive Paul Chitnis said: "Sciaf's donation of £25,000 will be used to address the urgent requirements of communities.

"It is very likely this will increase as the scale of the tragedy unfolds.

"The needs at the moment are obviously the most urgent and they are for clean water, food, particularly high-protein food for vulnerable children, and also for shelter because so many homes have been destroyed by the tidal waves.

"Sciaf, through its partners, will continue to support the people of Asia and help to rebuild communities spiritually, mentally and physically in the months to come.

"We would ask the people of Scotland to remember the people of Asia in their prayers at this very difficult time. "

Scottish aid worker Mr Fleming left for the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Monday night.

Before he left to help with the humanitarian effort, he urged people to make a donation to the charity's Asia Floods Emergency Appeal.

Restaurants lining Phuket's Bang Tao beach were swept away

He said: "Food, water and shelter are all urgently needed by those affected.

"Oxfam have already started getting aid to the people but much more will be needed."

Meanwhile, the executive has said ministers will meet Scottish aid agencies this week to discuss what help it can provide.

First Minister Jack McConnell said: "I have asked Patricia Ferguson to meet aid agencies this week and to offer them every possible support in their efforts.

"It is hard to imagine the scale of devastation and human tragedy caused by this earthquake.

"I am sure I speak for everyone in Scotland when I say my immediate thoughts are to help in any way we can."

It emerged on Tuesday morning that 16 Britons are among the dead, while about 1,000 Scottish holidaymakers are thought to have been caught up in the disaster.

Lucky escape

As those with family and friends in the area waited for news from their loved ones, some survivors told their stories.

Gavin Marshall, from Glasgow, and his family had been swimming on the beach at Ko Lanta in Thailand when they saw the tsunami approach.

They made it back to their villa and then fled into the jungle before the second wave hit the coastline.

Mr Marshall, from Bearsden, told BBC Radio Scotland: "The kids were playing on the beach and my wife noticed a very large wave breaking at the very far end of the bay we were staying in.

We were walking past cars in hotels and hedges, parts of piers on the streets

Vikky Loudon

Patong, Thailand

"At first we just thought we hadn't noticed it before, then the horizon became black and it was very obvious it was a very large wave coming towards the beach."

The family went back to their villa near the beach before the first wave hit, washing through the shoreline properties.

"We packed as much as we could as quickly as we could before the second wave hit, which washed out some more villas further back," he said.

"Then we were instructed by the Thai people to go into the centre of the island and we climbed about 160 metres up into the jungle.

'Severe destruction'

"We stayed there pretty much all of the day until about 7pm and then we came back down to a lower level."

He said there was "severe destruction" on the seafront of Ko Lanta.

Vikky Loudon, from Stirling, is also among those counting themselves lucky to be alive.

She was in deep sea when the tsunami rolled underneath the boat taking her from Phuket to Phi Phi island.

After spending more than eight hours on the boat the passengers finally arrived on dry land and were taken to a shopping arcade.

Thousands of Britons were on holiday on the Thai island of Phuket

Ms Loudon spent the night with a Thai family before travelling to Patong, where she said the destruction was "unbelievable".

"We were walking past cars in hotels and hedges, parts of piers on the streets," she said in an email home to her family.

"A boat was nearly on the road but was wedged between two trees, and the place was nearly a ghost town apart from the police and ambulances flying by all the time.

"It's just unreal - I can't believe how lucky we are."

Singer-songwriter Iain Hogg, from Bridge of Allan, was on a family holiday in Phuket.

He was not affected when the waves hit as he was staying in a property higher up on a hill.

"If we had been on the beach we would probably have been killed," he told BBC Scotland.

"We could see some of the waves coming in. It all happened so fast.

"There is a lot of confusion, nobody is quite sure how many people are missing."

The 42-year-old added: "It looks like a hurricane has hit the island.

"There are a lot of buildings where in the bottom floors all the windows have been smashed.

"There is a lot of devastation, with cars turned upside down, and unfortunately a lot of people have been killed."

Donations can be sent to SCIAF at 19 Park Circus, Glasgow, G3 6BE, and via its website or to Oxfam online or by phoning 0870 333 2500.
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When is it going to stop. sad.gif

Indonesia toll 'could be 25,000'

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla has said the death toll in Indonesia from Sunday's earthquake and sea surges could reach 25,000 people.

"We don't have confirmed data, but I think between 21,000 and 25,000 people (died)," the Antara state news agency quoted him as saying.

The Indonesian island of Sumatra was closest to the quake's epicentre.

First reports from the coast nearest to the quake spoke of three quarters of the city of Meulaboh "washed away".

No contact had been made with Sumatra's north-west coast since the earthquake hit.

But an e-mail received on Tuesday from Meulaboh spoke of widespread devastation.

Police detective Rilo Pambudi said the town was completely cut off and still being battered by flood waters.

It's just unbearable to know that our brothers and sisters in Aceh have to go through this kind of pain

Adelina M, Jakarta, Indonesia

Tell us your experiences

The e-mail, released by officials in the capital Jakarta, spoke of food running out, looting, and the prospect of "mass deaths".

Mr Kalla made his prediction after visiting Sumatra's northern tip, and officials in the region later said the prediction was in line with their expectations.

Indonesia's health ministry said on Tuesday that the confirmed number of dead now stood at 4,700.

But with much of the north-western Sumatran coast still unaccounted for, the figure looks set to rise sharply.

The centre of Banda Aceh has been devastated

Enlarge Image

Million homeless

Most of the confirmed dead have been found in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey, who is in Banda Aceh, says the picture is one of total devastation, with bodies lined up for identification, or being taken away to mass graves.

"The building of the main mosque is unscathed, but everywhere around are bodies, they haven't been moved yet. There are no communications here, telephone lines are all down, this satellite phone I am talking on is the only available communication," she says.

Almost a million people have been left homeless in Sumatra, many taking refuge on higher ground and in mosques and tents.

Officials have warned of the danger of disease, as bodies lay unburied and hospitals faced the possibility of running out of medicine.

Medicines and emergency supplies have started arriving in Aceh, but the flooding and the region's poor infrastructure will make it difficult to distribute equipment quickly.

The province is also under military rule as the army fights separatist rebels, and the movements of aid agencies and journalists is severely restricted.

Rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (Gam) have ordered a ceasefire so aid can be taken to affected areas, while the military has said it is too busy with disaster relief work to hunt rebels.

But as the relief effort picked up speed, the scale of the disaster became apparent.

Many of those killed were children and the elderly, swept away by the surging tides, also known as Tsunamis. Witnesses said the retreating waters revealed many bodies hanging in the branches of trees.

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This is shocking so sad.

Im glad to hear your well Pendekar Timur.

Sorry for missin out on enulf he hasnt been around in ages , i really hope hes ok .

Sorry for ur friend lottie

BBC and sky News now saying figure at 40 000.

40 000 people , its unimaginable.

so sad, the picture on all the front pages of the news papers hear are of the poor indonesian man holding his 8 year old son who was killed hand crying.

The coverage here in the UK is unbeleivable . Is it the same in other countries.

Japan have pledged $30 million dollars.

And the EU $4 million (personally i think if japan can give 30 million we can at least match that.)

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As I said earlier...they've stated that it will most likely exceed 50,000.

Amazing what "swell" can do isn't it? (technically it wasn't a tidal wave, thats an exaggeration).

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55,000 dead, more than double that casultys.


My relatives arent among them; my uncle's broken a rib.

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