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Thread: This is just absolutely unbelievable

  1. #1
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    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Rescuers piled up bodies along southern Asian coastlines devastated by tidal waves that obliterated seaside towns and killed more than 22,000 people in nine countries, and officials indicated Monday the death toll could climb far higher.

    Hundreds of children were buried in mass graves in India, and morgues and hospitals struggled to cope with the catastrophe. Somalia, some 3,000 miles away, reported hundreds of deaths.


    The death toll rose sharply a day after the magnitude 9 quake struck deep beneath the Indian Ocean off the coast of Indonesia. It was the most powerful earthquake in the world in four decades.


    Government and aid officials suggested the death toll could increase significantly, citing unconfirmed reports of thousands more deaths on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and on India's Andaman and Nikobar islands.


    Walls of water sped away from the quake's epicenter at more than 500 mph before crashing into the region's shorelines, sweeping people and fishing villages out to sea. Millions were displaced from their homes and thousands remained missing Monday.


    The governments of Indonesia and Thailand conceded that public warnings came too late or not at all. But officials insisted they could not know the seriousness of the threat because no tsunami warning system exists for the Indian Ocean.


    The international Red Cross said it was concerned about waterborne diseases like malaria and cholera.


    Rescuers converged on beaches and islands throughout the region to search for survivors, and offers of aid poured in from around the globe, as troops in the region struggled to deliver urgently needed aid to afflicted areas. Pakistan, India's nuclear-armed rival, offered relief and rescue assistance.


    Sri Lanka said more than 10,000 people were killed along its coastlines, and Tamil rebels said 2,000 people died in its territory, raising that country's toll to more than 12,000.


    Indonesia reported about 5,000 deaths and India 4,000. Thailand a Western tourist hotspot said hundreds of people were dead and thousands more were missing. Deaths also were reported in Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Somalia.


    Additionally, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the death toll on the island of Sumatra closest to the epicenter could climb to 10,000 people.


    On the remote Car Nicobar island 150 miles northwest of Sumatra, Police Chief S.B. Deol told New Delhi Television he had reports that another 3,000 people may have died. If confirmed, that would raise India's death toll to 6,000 and the overall number to 23,900.


    "The Andaman and Nicobar islands have been really badly hit," said Hakan Sandbladh, senior health officer at the Geneva headquarters of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, noting that unconfirmed reports put the death toll at 13,000 on the islands.


    A Somali presidential spokesman said hundreds of people died and entire villages disappeared on the African country's coastline. Yusuf Ismail said he could not yet give an exact death toll.


    Chaos erupted at the airport in Phuket, Thailand, as hundreds of tourists, many wounded and weeping, tried to board planes for Bangkok.


    In Bandah Aceh, Indonesia, 150 miles from the quake's epicenter, dozens of bloated bodies littered the streets as soldiers and desperate relatives searched for survivors. Some 500 bodies collected by emergency workers lay under plastic tents, rotting in the tropical heat.


    "We have ordered 15,000 troops into the field to search for survivors," Indonesian military spokesman Edy Sulistiadi said. "They are mostly retrieving corpses."


    Refugees in nearby Lhokseumawe, many of whom had spent the night sleeping outside on open ground, complained that little or no aid had reached them. The city's hospital said it was running out of medicine.

    The Indian state of Tamil Nadu reported thousands of deaths. Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa called the scene "an extraordinary calamity of such colossal proportions that the damage has been unprecedented."

    Nearby beaches resembled open-air mortuaries as fishermen's bodies washed ashore, and retreating waters left behind others killed inland. In Cuddalore, red-eyed parents buried more than 150 children laid in a mass grave that a bulldozer filled with sodden earth.

    The tsunamis came without warning. Witnesses said sea waters at first retreated far out into the ocean, only to return at a vicious pace. Some regions reported a crashing wall of water 20 feet high.

    "The water went back, back, back, so far away, and everyone wondered what it was a full moon or what? Then we saw the wave come, and we ran," said Katri Seppanen, who was in Thailand, on Phuket island's popular Patong beach.

    Sri Lanka and Indonesia said at least 1 million people were driven from their homes in each country. Warships in Thailand steamed to remote tropical island resorts to search for survivors as air force helicopters in Sri Lanka and India rushed food and medicine to stricken areas.

    In Indonesia, villagers near northern Lhokseumawe picked through the debris of their ruined houses amid the smell of decomposing bodies.

    One man, Rajali, said his wife and two children were killed and he could not find dry ground to bury them. Islamic tradition demands that the deceased be buried as soon as possible.

    "What shall I do?" said the 55-year-old man, who, like many Indonesians, goes by a single name. "I don't know where to bury my wife and children."

    Dozens of bodies still clad in swimming trunks lined beaches in Thailand.

  2. #2
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    It's an unbelievable tragedy. Not sure I've ever seen a natural disaster like it in my lifetime.

  3. #3
    DRUDGE REPORT - put's the death toll 23,200 and counting.
    It's unreal...

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    Sadder still is that 30% of the victims are children...they said a lot of the fisherman had little huts right on the shore.

    What amazes me is the deaths in India..they said the earthquake was 1000 miles from the Indian shore yet those people were unable to get away. (Evidently these things move 200 MPH).

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Come Back to NY[/i]@Dec 27 2004, 06:06 PM
    [b] Sadder still is that 30% of the victims are children...they said a lot of the fisherman had little huts right on the shore.

    What amazes me is the deaths in India..they said the earthquake was 1000 miles from the Indian shore yet those people were unable to get away. (Evidently these things move 200 MPH). [/b][/quote]
    I heard on CNN that it was moving over 600 mph. Unreal

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    Anyone see the video of the wave hitting Thailand? Unbelievable. And I think that the video caught one of the 'lighter' ones.


    Absolute sheer devastation. I heard there's a chance that there will be over 42K dead. Worst of all, the threat of Cholera and Malaria with the decomp. bodies, poisioned wells, etc may cause greater problems.

    I think that in my life time, when thinking back to the SF Earthquake, the vicious Hurricanes, Tornados and floods, I've never seen any natural disaster on a scale that this one is on

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    If anyone is interested in amking a donation, here is a link to a number of charities

    [url=http://www.networkforgood.org/topics/international/earthquake/tsunami122604.aspx]http://www.networkforgood.org/topics/inter...nami122604.aspx[/url]

  8. #8
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    [b]Thousands stranded beyond hope (100,000 people on island near epicenter still unaccounted for)[/b]

    The survivors have blank stares and do not speak. We walk together among black and bloated bodies still lying in the streets of Banda Aceh three days after the 25 minutes of terror that struck on Boxing Day morning.

    "We thought it was the end of the world," says Sofyan Halim, who lost 15 members of his family.

    Banda Aceh's 40,000 people have suffered greatly over the years, caught in a bitter fight between the Indonesian military and rebels struggling for independence from Jakarta. But nothing like this; never before such death and utter devastation.

    Nobody here is talking about recovery, just survival.


    This is just a slice of the devastation wreaked across 11 nations by an earthquake and resulting tsunami. The rescue mission here is painfully slow, just as it is in most of the stricken areas.

    Only a 16-hour boat ride away, close to the epicentre of the earthquake, is an island of 100,000 people - all of them unaccounted for and beyond the reach of Indonesia's limited resources.

    "We just don't know about them," a government official, Djoko Sumaryono, says of Simeulue. "No contact makes us fearful. We're trying to send helicopters there."

    An Australian trying to reach Simeulue yesterday with vital aid and a satellite phone also fears the worst. "There will be people there with nothing, no fuel, no food, no water, nothing at all. The whole place is washed away I'd say," Brian Williams says.

    Among the ruins of what used to be Banda Aceh's thriving market, shocked men and boys pick through the rubble, ignoring dozens, perhaps hundreds, of rotting bodies.

    When the stink becomes unbearable, they cover their faces and continue their search for anything that will keep their families alive. Food is desperately short, so much so that people stand for hours in the sun outside the few shops untouched by the devastation in the hope they will open and sell them food.

    Looting and lawlessness are other problems plaguing the region, but there are by no means the worst. The head of Banda Aceh's military hospital, Taufiq Urahman, says there are grave fears of an outbreak of cholera and typhoid. "Banda Aceh is paralysed," he says. "This is a very grim situation."

    Survivors say the city was shaken first by two earthquakes, five minutes apart. Three tsunamis came 25 minutes later.

    "The water was as high as a coconut palm," says Sofyan Halim. "All the debris came with it. People were screaming. Some got away, many didn't. The water went 15 kilometres inland in some places. It was all over in 25 minutes. That's all. How can that be ... such devastation."

    It is difficult to imagine how Banda Aceh can rebuild itself. Trees, uprooted and dumped kilometres away, litter the streets, as do the twisted shells of cars. Layers of stinking mud cover everything and several of the biggest shopping centres have collapsed. Even the symbol of Aceh, the Baiturrahman mosque, has been badly damaged.

    One of the many ruins, the three-storey Doctor Zainal Abidin Hospital, tells a particularly grim tale. "Children in emergency wards were killed [when the water hit]," says a nurse, Citra Nurhayat. "Soldier patients suffering from malaria helped to evacuate other patients."

    Families sit in shock in the street or in the grounds of mosques. Only the children seem to cry; the parents seem numb with disbelief.

    A 34-year-old mother, Nurhayati, says she has only had bananas to feed her three-month-old baby since Sunday. "I need baby food as well ... no aid has come to us yet."

    Scores of badly injured people lie in the corridors and on verandahs of the only operating hospital in Banda Aceh. Patients have no water to drink and have only dry packed noodles to eat.

    Saripah, 60, who could not hang on to her six-year-old granddaughter in the tsunami, came to the hospital yesterday for medicine. She was turned away. Outside was a 16-year-old girl who lost an entire family. She had been told there was nowhere to treat her leg wound. Nurses say there are thousands like them.

    Survivors and rescue workers bring the dead to Lambaro, a village a few kilometres outside the city, and lay them under plastic sheets near a roundabout in the hope that relatives will come and identify them.

    But the threat of disease and Muslim tradition that the dead be buried within 24 hours have prompted mass burials.

    About 1500 victims, many of them children, were buried after a funeral on Monday night. There are so many bodies - officials say the death toll in Banda Aceh alone may be as high as 10,000 - that an excavator is digging graves on a two-hectare plot of land near the village.

    Indonesian officials fear that communities and islands off the west coast of Sumatra may have been even harder hit.

    Shortages of food, water and medicines in Banda Aceh are already causing anger among the Acehnese. Indra Utama, a community leader in the city, says the military must provide more urgent aid. "Where is the military?" he asks. "They're just taking care of their families. There is no war in Aceh now, why don't they help pick up the bodies in the street?"

    However, the Indonesian military has started flying medical crews and badly needed emergency supplies into the area in Hercules and any other available aircraft from Medan. It admits much more is needed. At an emergency aid centre at the Banda Aceh parliament only biscuits and drinking water had arrived yesterday afternoon.

    Brian Williams, who has lived on Simeulue since 2002, yesterday flew into Medan from Sydney with his wife, Dewi.

    He is desperate to contact the island, where he runs a surfing and fishing tour business, but communications are down.


    He believes the main town, Sinabang, has been "wiped out".

    Mr Williams plans to make the 16-hour trip to Simeulue on a boat laden with Australian aid. "I just want to make sure they're all right and get them some help."

  9. #9
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    Death toll surpassed 50,000 now. Certainly going to continue rising as the threat of disease amid the rotting corpses increases.

    Horrible situation all through that area.

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    Just read it's at 60000 and still climbing

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    They say that the final death toll from the actual disaster could DOUBLE once the disease and such begins to take hold.

    This is scary stuff. One has to question if this is how mother nature takes care of herself. I am not quite sure how to process this one. :unsure:

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    [b]Celebrities Among Victims of Tsunami [/b]


    By ROB KENNEDY, Associated Press Writer

    BANGKOK, Thailand - A German statesman, a Czech supermodel and a Swedish Olympic ski champion were among the vacationers whose search for peace and sun in tropical southern Asia was shattered by the tsunamis that spared neither rich nor poor.


    Petra Nemcova who appeared on the cover of 2003 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue was carried away with her boyfriend, the fashion photographer Simon Atlee, after a huge wave plowed into southern Thailand on Sunday.


    Nemcova's New York spokesman, Rob Shuter, said the model and her boyfriend had been vacationing in the resort of Phuket when waves overwhelmed their beach hut.


    Nemcova, 25, clung to a tree for eight hours as the water swirled around her. She was recovering in a Thai hospital from broken bones, possibly including a broken pelvis, and unspecified internal injuries.


    Atlee, 33, was swallowed by the raging waters and was still missing Tuesday.


    "I've spoken to Petra several times and she's in pretty bad shape," Shuter said. "She's on pain medication. She probably doesn't realize yet the magnitude of the disaster."


    Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was on holiday in Sri Lanka's pristine south one of the areas most devastated by tsunamis.


    Kohl and his entourage were evacuated Tuesday from a hotel by the Sri Lankan air force.


    "The helicopter went and we managed to bring him back with six others," Commander Air Marshal Donald Perera told The Associated Press.


    Swedish skiing great Ingemar Stenmark was sunbathing in Thailand when he saw an immense wave roaring to shore. He ran for his life.


    Stenmark who won two gold medals at the 1980 Olympics and 86 World Cup races was with friends in Khok Kloi, about 30 miles from Phuket.


    "The water from the first wave disappeared, but then it came back with terrifying speed," Stenmark told Swedish media. He and his girlfriend were not injured.


    Another athlete wasn't so lucky. Troy Broadbridge, an Australian Rules football player, was on his honeymoon in Phuket when he and his bride were swamped as they strolled along a beach. Trisha Broadbridge was safe, but he was still missing Tuesday.


    Several Italian soccer players including AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi, Milan captain Paolo Maldini, and Juventus defender Gianluca Zambrotta were caught in the maelstrom in the Maldives but were unhurt.


    Thailand's royal family also were among the grieving. The Thai-American grandson of King Bhumipol Adulyadej, Poom Jensen, 21, was reportedly jet skiing when the tidal wave struck Phuket. His body was found later.


    Hollywood actor-director Richard Attenborough's family also suffered tragedy. His granddaughter, Lucy, 14, perished and his daughter, Jane, and her mother-in-law are missing in Phuket. Another granddaughter, Alice, 17, was being treated in a hospital.


    Attenborough's directorial credits include "Cry Freedom," "Chaplin" and the Oscar-winning "Gandhi." He has appeared in scores of films including "The Great Escape," "Elizabeth" and "Jurassic Park."


    On Thailand's Phi Phi island, where "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed, 200 bungalows at two resorts were swept out to sea, and resort officials said many foreign tourists were among the missing.

    Designer Nate Berkus, a regular contributor on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," was carried away with a friend by a tsunami after it ripped off the roof of their hut in Sri Lanka.

    They briefly clung to a telephone poll, but a second wave ripped them away. Berkus climbed to safety on the roof of a submerged home but his friend disappeared into the raging sea.

  13. #13
    TomShane
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    Not to be morbid, but I had heard that when a Tsunami hits, if you survive the initial crush of the wave (unlikely) it sweeps you so far out to sea so fast that even if you live, you're under hundreds of feet of water. Truly horrible.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by TomShane[/i]@Dec 28 2004, 07:40 PM
    [b] Not to be morbid, but I had heard that when a Tsunami hits, if you survive the initial crush of the wave (unlikely) it sweeps you so far out to sea so fast that even if you live, you're under hundreds of feet of water. Truly horrible. [/b][/quote]
    how does it "sweep you out to sea" if it is pushing inland? Seems to me you'd have to be in the ocean already for that to happen.

    I was in Florida for hurricane Jeanne...we have to condo's right on the water in Cocoa Beach. We had to evacuate the Saturday morning before it hit. From the back porch door to the ocean line is usually 50-yards...by the time we left Saturday morning the waves were coming as close to 10-yards from the porch door. That was nothing compared to what these people went through yet when I saw it I said "holy sh!t"

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Come Back to NY[/i]@Dec 28 2004, 07:51 PM
    [b]
    how does it "sweep you out to sea" if it is pushing inland? Seems to me you'd have to be in the ocean already for that to happen.
    [/b][/quote]
    Its called undertow.

    You know that feeling of the water rushing back out to sea you have around your feet after a wave comes in and goes back out? Now multiply that by a gazillion.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by JetFanTransplant+Dec 28 2004, 07:54 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (JetFanTransplant @ Dec 28 2004, 07:54 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Come Back to NY[/i]@Dec 28 2004, 07:51 PM
    [b]
    how does it "sweep you out to sea" if it is pushing inland? Seems to me you&#39;d have to be in the ocean already for that to happen.
    [/b][/quote]
    Its called undertow.

    You know that feeling of the water rushing back out to sea you have around your feet after a wave comes in and goes back out? Now multiply that by a gazillion. [/b][/quote]
    understand that but it seems most of these people were a bit inland where the undertow would not have had such an effect.

    I&#39;ve read they think most of the people died from trauma; they were swept up in the waves which slammed them into buildings, cars, etc.

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    True... I also read, however, that as the waves approached, so much water was actually sucked off the beach so quickly, that it left tons of fish just flopping around and many many people actually rushed out to the beach to snag themselves a bushel of fish.

    Well unbeknownst to them... that water was coming back... tenfold. Ouch.

    Apparently one small island was actually hit from both sides... damn near everyone washed right off the friggin thing.

    The stories that are coming out of this are simply unfathomable.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by JetFanTransplant[/i]@Dec 28 2004, 08:04 PM
    [b] True... I also read, however, that as the waves approached, so much water was actually sucked off the beach so quickly, that it left tons of fish just flopping around and many many people actually rushed out to the beach to snag themselves a bushel of fish.

    Well unbeknownst to them... that water was coming back... tenfold. Ouch.

    Apparently one small island was actually hit from both sides... damn near everyone washed right off the friggin thing.

    The stories that are coming out of this are simply unfathomable. [/b][/quote]
    I read that as well....sadly, the tide evidently went out some 600 feet and the few survivors who made it said though they realized something was wrong they wanted to hang around and see what was happening (read the first article I posted...my bad, read it in an article I did not post. It was a fisherman who said he realized something was wrong so took his family to higher ground. Then he and a few others went back down to the shore to see what was happening and he was the only one that made it).

    More and more amatuer footage is being found on what happened...the worst I&#39;ve seen is from Sri Lanka where the water is barreling down the street and people are holding onto a pole for dear life....unfortunately some could not keep their grip.

  19. #19
    TomShane
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    If you ever want to read a great "weather" book, try Sebastian Junger&#39;s "The Perfect Storm." Forget about the dopey George Clooney movie, the book will make you wonder how anybody is alive today.

    Anyway, in the book, he writes that in the open ocean, at any point in the day, a wave is breaking that is actually taller than the Empire State Building. Just crazy to think about. They don&#39;t hit shore usually because as the water gets shallower coming to land, the wave loses energy miles out and fizzles.

  20. #20
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by TomShane[/i]@Dec 28 2004, 08:15 PM
    [b] If you ever want to read a great "weather" book, try Sebastian Junger&#39;s "The Perfect Storm." Forget about the dopey George Clooney movie, the book will make you wonder how anybody is alive today.

    Anyway, in the book, he writes that in the open ocean, at any point in the day, a wave is breaking that is actually taller than the Empire State Building. Just crazy to think about. They don&#39;t hit shore usually because as the water gets shallower coming to land, the wave loses energy miles out and fizzles. [/b][/quote]
    Or, "Krakatoa- the day the eart erupted".

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