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Disaster in SE asia


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Scientists: Quake shifts islands

Nicobar and Simeulue farther out to sea

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 Posted: 0328 GMT (1128 HKT)

U.S. scientists say movement of the tectonic plates during the earthquake shifted the Nicobar Islands.

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- The massive earthquake that devastated parts of Asia permanently moved the tectonic plates beneath the Indian Ocean as much as 98 feet (30 meters), slightly shifting islands near Sumatra an unknown distance, U.S. scientists said on Tuesday.

A tsunami spawned by the 9.0-magnitude quake off the northern tip of Sumatra killed an estimated 60,000 on Sunday in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and East Africa.

Satellite images showed that the movement of undersea plates off the northern tip of Sumatra moved the Nicobar Islands and Simeulue Island out to sea by an unknown distance, U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Ken Hudnut said.

Although the data showed that plates more than 12 miles (20 km) beneath the ocean's surface moved dramatically, scientists will have to use handheld satellite positioning systems at the sites to learn precisely how much the land masses on the surface shifted, Hudnut said.

The USGS team in Pasadena, California, also was studying more detailed satellite images on Tuesday to determine if the scraping of one plate over another plowed up enough debris on the ocean floor to block the port of Banda Aceh in Sumatra where international aid was headed.

Large earthquakes in the last decade in Kobe, Japan, and Golcuk, Turkey, deformed the coastlines and rendered their ports inoperable after the crises, Hudnut said.

The scientists have asked for cooperation from operators of commercial satellites that can provide high-resolution images to show the extent of damage to coastlines, he said.

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World boosts aid to wave victims

Aid agencies and Western countries are stepping up efforts to help survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, which has killed about 60,000 people.

The US has more than doubled its pledge of funds to $35m. Two flotillas of US warships with 15,000 troops are carrying relief supplies to the region.

Many governments and organisations - including Canada, Australia, the EU and the UN - are also sending aid.

The UN says disease could double the death toll after Sunday's earthquake.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake happened just off the coast of the large Indonesian island of Sumatra early on Sunday, and set off huge waves that reached as far as Africa.

On Wednesday the UK government pledged £15m ($29m) to help the first phase of the relief effort - making Britain the second largest donor after the US.

The American military says it has diverted an aircraft carrier, as well as other ships and at least 20 aircraft, to affected countries.

Full horror emerges

An Australian air force plane has arrived in Sumatra, carrying medical teams and supplies.

Plane loads of supplies are also arriving in Sri Lanka - the worst-affected country outside Indonesia, with more than 20,000 confirmed dead.

A UN team is also on the island to co-ordinate the relief effort. But the BBC's Roland Buerk on the southern coast says getting the aid to the worst-hit areas will be a huge logistical operation.

The Tamil Tiger rebels - who control large stretches of the affected coast - say that so far they have received no help from the authorities.

The Sri Lankan government has urged people to put aside divisions to rebuild the country.

Across the region, searches are continuing to uncover bodies from beaches and collapsed buildings.

Bodies are being buried as quickly as possible in mass graves, and hospitals and rescue workers are scrambling to cope.

As they discover more bodies, the true extent of the tsunami's devastation is becoming clearer:

The official Indonesian death toll stands at about 32,000 - but the vice-president estimated the final tally could be 40,000. Officials have estimated the inundated Sumatran town of Meulaboh may have lost 10,000 inhabitants - about 10% of its population

About 7,000 people are feared dead in the low-lying Andaman and Nicobar islands, say Indian officials, with 20% of the population on one island, Car Nicobar, believed killed

In Thailand more than 1,500 have been confirmed dead, including at least 473 foreign tourists staying at beach resorts - the Thai government says the total death toll may rise to 2,000

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga declares Friday a day of mourning

Unicef warns that children could account for up to a third of the dead.

Aid challenge

The UN has said it faces an unprecedented challenge in co-ordinating distribution of aid to some 10 nations at once.

In Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO) expert David Nabarro has warned "there is certainly a chance that we could have as many dying from communicable diseases as from the tsunami".

Coastal communities across South Asia - and more than 4,000 km away in Africa - were swept away and homes engulfed by waves up to 10m high (33ft) after the quake created a tsunami that sped across the ocean.

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.

Tsunamis generated by earthquakes can travel at up to 500km/h.


Sri Lanka: 21,715 dead

Indonesia: 32,828

India: 4,371 dead

Thailand: 1,516 dead

Maldives: 52 dead

Malaysia: 44 dead

Burma: 30 dead

Bangladesh: 2 dead

Somalia: 100 dead

Kenya: 1 dead

Seychelles: 3 dead

Tanzania: 10 dead

Story from BBC NEWS:


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Just heard on the news that officials are expecting the number of dead to exceed 100,000.

9 Australians dead. Again, mostly children.

A question - as far as natural disasters go...what is the highest deathtoll, ever? Is this the highest?

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no, off hand the largest I can think of was the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in China which killed around 655,000.

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correction, just googled it, and apparently the Shaanzi earthquake in 1556 killed an estimated 830,000 (of course at that time official stats were hard to comeby)

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Correction again, this planet has had massive extinctions including ice ages and been hit by comets

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60,000 now crying.gif not the greatest thing to wake up to crying.gif they expect thousands more will die of disease.

Edited by Dancing_Dumplings
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Correction again, this planet has had massive extinctions including ice ages and been hit by comets


True, though I meant recent and confirmed deathcount wink2.gif

Tangshan seems to be it...Half a million because of an earthquake is staggering... sad.gif I'll do a bit of research on it, thanks for the info thumbsup.gif

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This is really really wild.....imagine!

American diver underwater during catastrophe

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 Posted: 1212 GMT (2012 HKT)


(CNN) -- An American woman who was scuba diving with her husband in Thailand as one of Sunday's tsunamis roared overhead said she was oblivious to the disaster until after they surfaced, her mother told CNN on Tuesday.

Faye Wachs, 34, was diving with her husband, Eugene Kim, Sunday morning off Ko Phi Phi Island in Thailand when they noticed the water visibility worsened and felt as though they were being sucked downward, Helen Wachs said.

Their dive master signaled to them to surface, "but we still didn't know what happened," Faye wrote in an e-mail to her mother Tuesday.

The enormity of what was happening while they were scuba diving was not immediately apparent after they surfaced, Helen Wachs said her daughter told her.

"She said she saw a lot of trash in the water. The dive master said it was really rude for people to throw trash. Then they saw large bits of debris and thought there might have been a boat crash," Helen Wachs said.

She said her daughter didn't know what had happened until the dive master got a text message from his wife telling him about the catastrophe.

Soon they saw bodies floating past them, Wachs' mother said in an interview from Oakland, California, where she lives.

Once they returned to shore, the couple did what they could to help, Helen Wachs said.

"I can't describe carrying a moaning person who just saw his girlfriend killed down a hill in the middle of the night," the e-mail said. "I saw more bodies than I care to report. The hotel where we were staying is mostly gone. We lost everything, but our lives."

Faye Wachs said she was impressed by the efforts of the Thai government and the International Committee for the Red Cross, but "she was appalled at the treatment they got" from the U.S. government, her mother said.

At the airport in Bangkok, other governments had set up booths to greet nationals who had been affected and to help repatriate them, she said.

That was not the case with the U.S. government, Wachs told her mother. It took the couple three hours, she said, to find the officials from the American consulate, who were in the VIP lounge.

Because they had lost all their possessions, including their documentation, they had to have new passports issued.

But the U.S. officials demanded payment to take the passport pictures, Helen Wachs said.

The couple had managed to hold on to their ATM card, so they paid for the photos and helped other Americans who did not have any money get their pictures taken and buy food, Helen Wachs said.

"She was really very surprised" that the government did so little to ease their ordeal, she said.

Helen Wachs said her daughter told her they would need "some serious counseling" upon their return to Los Angeles.

Once aboard the plane, Wachs told her mother, the biggest thing they noticed was the absence of the stench of raw sewage that had permeated the air.

"She said the clean smell was amazing."

Wachs, who described herself as "shell-shocked but happy to be coming home," is scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, her mother said.

She returns acutely aware that many thousands of others don't have that option.

"The tourists are able to get out, but those there are left with utter destruction," Helen Wachs said.

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Correction again, this planet has had massive extinctions including ice ages and been hit by comets


In recent history, the worst natural disaster was in China 1930. The Yangtze river flooded and killed 3.7 million.


Edited by gollum
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Officially not the death toll is 80,000. I honestly can't comprehend this.

And thats before the cholera and malaria and other disease start full force too, do to the lack of sanitation

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I was watching last night the CNN special news edition covering the disaster. It is horrible and devastating... What really frustrated me was when Anderson Cooper said that he received angry e-mails for showing disturbing images of human bodies on the news because they were too graphic for the general public. How is it possible people to react in such way when thousands of people died on the other side of the globe? Last night I made a donation to the Red Cross for the International Response fund and I encourage you to do the same. If you go to Google, Amazon or Apple.com they have links for donations.

I am deeply sorry for all human lives lost and will try to help as much as I can to prevent further deaths.

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The possible outbreak of Cholera scares the hell outta me.

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It really makes me feel so helpless... disaster seems more and more devastating by the hour. The president of Finland suggested that towns would cancel their new year fire works and donate the money for helping SE Asia. Many have agreed. It's not much, but better than blowing the money up to the sky.

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Okay THIS is just to bizarre, like right out of a movie or something....

Scientists: Quake may have made Earth wobble

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 Posted: 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)

Scientists believe that a shift of mass toward the Earth's center during the quake caused the planet to spin 3 microseconds faster and to tilt about an inch on its axis.

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- The deadly Asian earthquake may have permanently accelerated the Earth's rotation, shortening days by a fraction of a second and caused the planet to wobble on its axis, U.S. scientists said Tuesday.

Richard Gross, a geophysicist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, theorized that a shift of mass toward the Earth's center during the quake Sunday caused the planet to spin 3 microseconds, or one millionth of a second, faster and to tilt about an inch on its axis.

When one huge tectonic plate beneath the Indian Ocean was forced below the edge of another "it had the effect of making the Earth more compact and spinning faster," Gross said.

Gross said changes predicted by his model probably are too minuscule to be detected by a global positioning satellite network that routinely measures changes in Earth's spin, but said the data may reveal a slight wobble.

The Earth's poles travel a circular path that normally varies by about 33 feet , so an added wobble of an inch is unlikely to cause long-term effects, he said.

"That continual motion is just used to changing," Gross said. "The rotation is not actually that precise. The Earth does slow down and change its rate of rotation."

When those tiny variations accumulate, planetary scientists must add a "leap second" to the end of a year, something that has not been done in many years, Gross said.

Scientists have long theorized that changes on the Earth's surface such as tide and groundwater shifts and weather could affect its spin but they have not had precise measurements to prove it, Caltech seismologist Hiroo Kanamori said.

"Even for a very large event, the effect is very small," Kanamori said. "It's very difficult to change the rotation rate substantially."

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o lord its times like this that you feel just so darn useless.. no.gif i feel like i should be OVER THERE helping..on the streets and stuff..what good am i sitting here reading about it?? crying.gif

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latest official count: 80,427

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Just great......more ghosts!

There is nothing that you can do unless you are financially able to.

The threat of disease is so great right now that it's dangerous to go there. Don't worry.....our turn will come when the big one hits california!

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Latest count: 85,000.

It's estimated the death toll will top 100,000, and more than double that will die in the aftermath.

Think of that; 85,000 moms, dads, sons, daughters; all lost for no reason.

Or maybe their was a reason; nature proves her dominance once again...

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shame most of the buildings was wooden over there. So most couldnt really escape from it. I think I better learn to swim. never know when I will need it blink.gif

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I wish Ottawa would send D.A.R.T. They have a mobile Feild Hospital, water purafires etc. D.A.R.T. can make 100, 000 leaters of Fresh water a day, which is Badly needed. So i say We pressure Ottawa to send D.A.R.T.

May they all Rest in peace


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Ottawa has now donated $40 million.


Cool...Australia has put in a little over $30...why hasn't America contributed much while these "smaller" countries have?

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