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Asian tsunami death toll passes 144,000

The confirmed number killed in the massive earthquake and tidal waves that hit Indian Ocean shorelines a week ago has passed 144,000, as over 14,000 more deaths are confirmed by Indonesian officials.

Indonesia has borne the brunt of the December 26 catastrophe, with a Health Ministry official putting the country's dead at 94,081.

Entire coastal villages have disappeared under the wall of water and the figure could rise substantially.

The Health Ministry has cautioned that there could be 100,000 deaths in Aceh and North Sumatra.

In Sri Lanka, 29,729 are confirmed killed by the tidal waves, while more than 16,000 people injured.

A further 5,240 are listed as missing.

The official toll in India has risen to at least 14,962, although this includes 5,511 people the Government says are missing presumed dead.

In Thailand Interior Ministry figures put the death toll at 4,993 - 2,461 foreigners, 2,232 Thais and 300 whose race could not be determined.

The number listed as missing has fallen sharply to 3,810 compared with 6,424 previously.

In Burma at least 90 people have been killed, according to the UN, but the real toll is expected to be far higher.

President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom says at least 75 people have been killed and another 42 confirmed missing in the tourist paradise of the Maldives.

Police say 68 people are dead in Malaysia, most of them in Penang.

In Bangladesh, a father and child have been killed after a tourist boat capsized in large waves.

Fatalities have also occurred on the east coast of Africa where 176 people have been declared dead in Somalia, 10 in Tanzania and one in Kenya.

The US Geological Survey says 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.

- AFP




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