Death toll in Asian quake disaster over 55,000

The confirmed death toll from the massive earthquake and tidal waves that devastated much of Asia’s coastline passed 55,000, with officials warning the figure was likely to rise steeply.

In Indonesia, the government’s disaster relief centre said at least 27,174 were killed after the country took the full force of the huge earthquake and tidal waves that swallowed entire coastal villages.

Indonesia’s health ministry said at least 27,174 had been killed in the quake as the true scale of the catastrophe becomes clear.

In Sri Lanka more than 17,600 people, including at least 70 foreigners, were killed in Sunday’s disaster.

More than 8,500 people were reported killed in India with many more victims expected, officials said.

Among them were about 4,000 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, close to the epicentre of the quake, where thousands were missing after five villages were swept away, an official said.

More than 1,400 people were killed, among them more than 700 foreign tourists, in southern Thailand, officials said, putting the toll at 1,439.

In Malaysia 65 people, including many elderly and children, were killed, officials said, while at least 90 people were killed in Myanmar.

At least 52 people including two British holidaymakers were killed while another 68 were missing in the tourist paradise of Maldives, officials said.

In Bangladesh a father and child were killed after a tourist boat capsized from large waves, local officials said.

Fatalities also occurred on the east coast of Africa where 100 fishermen were declared dead in Somalia and 10 in Tanzania.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra measured 9.0 on the Richter scale — making it the largest quake worldwide in four decades.

Death toll
Sri Lanka: 17,640
India: 8,523
Indonesia: 27,174
Thailand: 1,439
Malaysia: 65
Myanmar: 90
Maldives: 55
Bangladesh: 2
Somalia 100
Tanzania 10
Total: 55,098