[Marinir] [CNN] Asia quake, tsunamis kill 4,800
ouwehoer at centrin.net.id
Sun Dec 26 18:07:05 CET 2004
Asia quake, tsunamis kill 4,800
Sunday, December 26, 2004 Posted: 11:08 AM EST (1608 GMT)
Sri Lankan military authorities report over 2,400 people killed, most of
them in the eastern district of Batticaloa
At least 1,800 killed by waves which flooded the southern coast, interior
More than 500 killed -- many of them in Aceh, in northern Sumatra
Thai authorities say nearly 400 were killed -- 200 reported on the small
island of Phi Phi
At least three children reported killed in the high waters on an island
north of the capital, Male
The death toll is expected to rise after tidal waves triggered by the quake.
The relationship between earthquakes and tsunamis.
Gallery: Devastation in quake aftermath
. Area affected by the quake
. Interactive: Earthquake magnitudes
. Many missing in sea off Thailand
. India fears fishing fatalities
. Maldives swamped with water
. Quake '5th largest since 1900'
(CNN) -- Massive tsunamis triggered by the largest earthquake to shake the
planet in over 40 years have wiped out coastal areas across southeastern
Asia, killing more than 4,800 people -- most of them in Sri Lanka and India.
The initial quake, measuring 8.9 in magnitude, struck about 100 miles (160
km) off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island around 7 a.m. Sunday (0000
GMT), according to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake
It is the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history, according to the
Sri Lankan military authorities are reporting over 2,400 people killed, most
of them in the eastern district of Batticaloa. Several districts in the
country's south have still not reported casualty figures, and authorities
fear the death toll could rise.
Officials, however, said thousands were missing and more than a half million
had been displaced.
The huge waves also swept away a high security prison in Matara, in southern
Sri Lanka, allowing 200 prisoners to escape. Eyewitnesses in eastern Sri
Lankan port city of Trincomalee reported waves as high as 40 feet (12
meters), hitting inland as far as half a mile (1 km).
Sri Lankan officials imposed a curfew as night fell, and tourists were being
evacuated from the eastern coasts to the capital, Colombo, unaffected on the
India has agreed to help assist Sri Lanka, sending two naval ships to the
resort town of Galle, in the south, and Trincomalee, according to Colombo
officials. Indian aircraft will bring in relief supplies to the country on
India itself is reeling from the aftermath of the quake and tsunami. Indian
officials said at least 1,800 Indians were killed as a result of the massive
waves. A resident of Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu district -- the
hardest hit area -- said he witnessed several people being swept away by a
tidal wave there.
Along India's southeastern coast, several villages appeared to have been
swept away, and thousands of fishermen -- including 2,000 from the Chennai
area alone -- who were out at sea when when the massive waves swept across
the waters have not returned.
Along the coast, the brick foundations of village homes were all that
Interior Minister Shivraj Patil told CNN 700 people were killed in Tamil
Nadu state and 200 in Andhra Pradesh. Poor communications with India's
remote Andaman and Nicobar islands, which were closer to the quake's
epicenter, has prevented any reports of damage and casualties. Most of the
aftershocks have been centered off those islands.
Thai authorities say more than 250 are feared dead, and hundreds are
missing. One witness said Phuket's famed Laguna Beach resort area is
"completely gone." The area provides 40 percent of Thailand's $10 billion
annual tourist income.
Among the missing were a number of scuba divers exploring the Emerald Cave
off Phuket's coast.
Phuket's airport, which closed down when its runways flooded, reopened, but
most roads remained closed, as officials tried to assess the damage, fearing
structural damage to buildings closer to the shore.
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Chinnawat arrived in Phuket and said the
situation was "under control." He told CNN he planned to stay the night and
direct rescue and relief efforts.
Over 500 people were killed Indonesia by the quake and the following
tsunamis -- many of them in Aceh, in northern Sumatra, about 100 miles from
the quake's epicenter, according to local reports.
"We still haven't got any reports from the western coast of Aceh, which is
closest to the epicenter so officials are bracing themselves for a lot more
bad news," said journalist John Aglionby in Jakarta.
The earthquake is classified as "great" -- the strongest possible
classification given by the NEIC.
NEIC geophysicist Don Blakeman said all of the tsunamis were triggered by
the initial quake. Waverly Person, Blakeman's colleague at NEIC, said the
tsunamis are "long over at this point," and residents and visitors should
not be concerned with more high water.
One major aftershock, measuring 7.3 in magnitude, struck about 200 miles
(300 km) northwest of Banda Aceh -- on Sumatra's northernmost tip -- over
four hours after the initial quake, according to the NEIC. The rest of the
aftershocks measured under 6.5 in magnitude.
The NEIC expects the quake to produce hundreds of smaller aftershocks, under
4.6 magnitude, and thousands smaller than that.
"A quake of this size has some pretty serious effects," he said.
He explained the quake was the energy released from "a very large rupture in
the earth's crust" over 600 miles (1,000 km) long. The rupture created
shockwaves that moved the water along at several hundred miles per hour.
It was the strongest earthquake to hit since March 1964, when a 9.2 quake
struck near Alaska's Prince William Sound. The strongest recorded earthquake
(since 1899, when such measurements began) registered 9.5 on May 22, 1960,
Sunday's earthquake is the fifth strongest in that period.
CNN Correspondents Aneesh Raman in Phuket, Satinder Bindra in Colombo and
Suhasini Haidar in Chennai contributed to this report.
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