Tidal waves death toll rises to over 52,000

Tidal waves death toll rises to over 52,000

December 28, 2004

LHOKSEUMAWE, Indonesia (AP) -- The death toll in 11 nations from Sunday's quake and tsunami has surpassed 52,000 after Indonesia announced new figures.

In addition to the deaths in Indonesia, more than 18,700 died in Sri Lanka, and more than 4,400 in India.

The numbers are expected to rise. And relief officials are concerned that just as many people could die from disease in the aftermath of the disaster.

Bodies, many of them children, fill beaches and hospital morgues. Officials fear disease could take even more lives.

Rescuers are still struggling to reach victims in the most isolated areas. Desperate residents have looted stores on Indonesia's Sumatra Island, where a local official says it's "every person for themselves."

A U.N. official says this could be the costliest disaster in history, with "many billions of dollars" of damage.

Wave derails train in Sri Lanka, hundreds dead

The victims of the tsunami that slammed into Sri Lanka may include hundreds of rail passengers. Officials say a train carrying 1,000 people from Colombo to Galle was thrown off its tracks by the huge waves. Most of the cars were turned into twisted metal.

A police official says about 150 bodies have been recovered so far.

In all, about 19,000 people have been killed by the tsunami in Sri Lanka.

U.S. relief package to be more than doubled

The United States is planning to add an extra $20 million to its initial Asian earthquake relief package. That would more than double the $15 million package the U.S. announced Monday, one day after the world's biggest earthquake in 40 years.

A senior U.S. official tells The Associated Press the amount could go even higher as damage assessments pour in. The move follows a U.N. official's suggestion that the U.S. was stingy in its aid offer, criticism that obviously irritated Secretary of State Colin Powell. He told ABC Tuesday morning that no country has given more aid in recent years than the U.S.

The AP has also learned the Pentagon is preparing a supplemental relief operation. The U.S. official says pre-stocked supplies of shelter, food and water bags are on their way to Indonesia from Dubai.

U.S. officials have confirmed 12 Americans died in the aftermath and hundreds are unaccounted for.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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