Tsunami Death Toll Tops 116,000 – India Warns of New Wave

Tsunami death toll tops 116,000 (CNN)

Photo: More than 116,000 people are dead following Sunday's huge earthquake that sent walls of water crashing across the Indian Ocean, officials in affected areas said today. U.N. relief workers have arrived in Indonesia's Aceh province to find devastation in the region, where as many as one in four people are reported to have died.The death toll from Sunday’s tsunamis has jumped sharply to over 116,000 after Indonesia reported nearly 80,000 people were killed in that country alone. U.N. relief workers arrived in Indonesia’s Aceh province to find devastation in the region closest to the epicenter of the earthquake that spawned the killer tsunamis. Emergency workers reported that in some parts of Aceh, as many as one in every four citizens was dead.

Scenes of destruction — homes and businesses flattened, buses tossed about like toys, piles of rubble filling the streets — were repeated across the region, as were the scenes of grief — residents and vacationers searching in vain for loved ones, or, at times, finding them in makeshift morgues.

Aceh province, nearly inaccessible in the best of times because of its remoteness and the presence for years of an armed insurgency, was even more cut off after Sunday’s disaster.

Unbelievable. And it could get worse:

India issues tsunami alert (CNN)

Photo: Pyres of victims killed by tsunamis burn on a beach in the southern Indian state of Kerala, Wednesday. Despite the apparent absence of any major seismological activity, Indian authorities have warned people in coastal areas to head for higher ground, four days after giant waves triggered by a massive earthquake killed at least 10,000 Indians. Reports of Thursday’s warning triggered panic in the streets of Port Blair, the regional capital of India’s remote Andaman Islands, where the death toll from Sunday’s tsunamis is expected to rise. Sri Lanka said it would follow suit, but then quickly decided against issuing any evacuation orders.

India’s central alert said there was evidence from foreign experts that a powerful earthquake could occur Thursday afternoon near Australia, triggering another tsunami in the Indian Ocean, according to a report from state-run Press Trust of India. The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors earthquake activity around the world, said it had not recorded any major activity that would spawn a tsunami. “We have not located any large earthquakes or aftershocks in recent hours,” USGS geophysicist John Minsch told CNN at 1 p.m. Thursday New Delhi time (2:30 a.m. ET).

***

There have been more than 70 aftershocks recorded on the Web site from Sunday’s quake. The strongest measured 7.1, but most have been between 5 and 6 in magnitude. None have produced any tsunamis.

One can hardly blame the authorities for overreacting somewhat in the wake of this disaster.

FILED UNDER: Asia,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies 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.

Comments

  1. Phillep says:

    The tsunami warning by India’s government was probably based on the original warning finally making it up through “proper channels”.

    Pardon the cynicism.