5000 Americans Unaccounted For

5000 Americans unaccounted for (AFP)

AS MANY as 5000 Americans are still unaccounted for a week after the world’s deadliest tsunami pounded a dozen countries across the Indian Ocean, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said today.

Mr Powell told reporters aboard his plane en route to Bangkok that the confirmed toll of Americans still stood at 15 with a defence department worker listed as missing. “The number of private citizens or citizens unaccounted for still lingers around 4-5000,” he said, adding the figure was based on phone calls from relatives or friends inquiring about their whereabouts.

Mr Powell said this did not mean they were necessarily casualties in the catastrophe. But he added: “We can’t ignore the very distinct possibility that there are Americans within this number who have lost their lives. We just don’t know that”.

Sadly, those who are still unaccounted for this many days after a tragedy that has received this level of attention are almost certainly dead–or do not wish to be found.

FILED UNDER: Asia,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.