Domingo, 26 de Dezembro de 2004
TAILÂNDIA - THE NATION
via: The NationSUMATRA EARTHQUAKE AFTERSHOCK: CATASTROPHEPublished on December 27, 2004 Asia casualties approach 10,000 as tidal waves wreak havoc n Hundreds dead in Thailand n Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi devastated Mother Nature’s greatest act of fury in half a century left Thai-land mourning massive casualties and the destruction of its southern islands and coastal areas after giant waves triggered by an earthquake in Indo-nesia swept away lives, property and an economy that took decades to build.tailandia.jpgThe quake set off tidal waves in a continent-wide ripple effect that swallowed up a large section of Asia’s coastal areas, including Thailand’s holiday resort island of Phuket and five other provinces, where at least 300 people are feared dead and thousands injured.The death toll is expected to rise.Eyewitnesses said tidal waves up to 10 metres high crashed down on seaside resorts, bungalows, beach-goers and tossed vehicles and property around like small toys.At least 44 bodies of foreign tourists were recovered in Phuket alone and authorities feared more would be discovered as rescue workers continue their search for survivors through the night.In Krabi, most of the nearly 50 fatalities brought to the provincial hospital were fetched from the water, apparently drowning deaths, while others were unable to withstand the force of the waves and died from the impact.The official death count for Thailand was just over 290 at the time of going press last night.Authorities in Phang Nga pro-vince reported the highest number of deaths - nearly 80 as of late last night. But that figure seems certain to grow. At the Yarn Yao Buddhist temple in Phang Nga, 102 corpses were laid out at the temple, according to Democrat MP Ju-rin Laksanavisit.Rescue workers said they saw scores of tourists from a capsized boat floating helplessly in the sea just off Koh Prathong in Phang Nga but were unable to fit any more people on their boat.Over 100 people were trapped for a time in the basement floor of the Ocean department store on Patong Beach. While most eventually made it to safety, two died during the ordeal, police said.In Bangkok, the government declared a state of emergency in Phuket and declared the area off limits to visitors. Prime Minister Thaksin Shina-watra left by helicopter last night to inspect the damage and held an emergency meeting with top officials in Phuket. Ambassadors from 21 countries were also scheduled to leave for the area last night to help with the evacuation of their nationals.Officials were trying to evacuate more than 600 tourists and residents from Kho Phi Phi, the tiny island made famous by the 2000 film “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.“I just couldn’t believe what was happening before my eyes,” Boree Carlsson told Reuters from a hotel 500 metres from Phuket’s Patong beach.“As I was standing there, a car actually floated into the lobby and overturned because the current was so strong,” said the 45-year-old Swede, who wrapped himself around a pillar to avoid being swept away.Swedish tourist Kjell Skold, who was in Phuket with his family, said the wave repeatedly hit his bungalow and took most of the things in the room with it.“It pushed us to the roof. Then the roof came off and we floated away,” Skold said.British tourist Paul Ramsbottom told the BBC there were several surges of the sea before the main tsunami struck.“It happened in cycles. There would be a surge and then it would retreat. And then there would be the next surge which was more violent,” he said.“And then it died for a little bit and then there was just one almighty surge. This was the one which was picking up trucks and motorcycles and throwing them around.”The fate of hundreds more tourists remained uncertain as communication with the scores of islands in the area, which are popular with foreign backpackers, was cut off by damage from the tidal waves.Across Asia, more than 6,600 people in coastal areas in the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea were killed by tidal waves caused by the earthquake. They also swept away a huge chunk of the region’s fishing industry and tourism spots that helped put it on the world’s travel map.Measured at 8.9 on the Richter scale with its epicentre near Sumatra island, the quake was the most powerful to occur in four decades.Thousands were left homeless in the Maldives, a popular destination for high-end tourists, while much of Burma’s lower coastal area, home to thousands of fishing trawlers, was also devastated.Television footage showed cars in Sumatra piled up on beaches and stacked like toys on top of houses and small buildings.The Nation, Agencies-----------------TIDAL WRATHSri LankaDead: 2,500Thousands of Sri Lankans have abandoned their flooded homes and fled to higher ground after the worst tsunami swamped the south and east shores, leaving scenes of destruction and horror.IndiaDead: 2,000Vast swathes of land were submerged in one of India’s worst natural disasters in living memory. Wailing relatives gathered on beaches in southern India to claim bodies of victims. IndonesiaDead: 1,900The island of Sumatra has borne the brunt of the tidal assault, as raging waters washed residents out to sea and tore children from their parents’ arms. Medics and police around Aceh said they expect the toll to keep rising with the full extent of the devastation still to be known.MalaysiaDead: 42Most of those killed were swept out to sea as they picnicked at the popular Batu Ferringhi beach on the resort island of Penang.BurmaDead: 10The tsunami, which drove through the Andaman Sea, destroyed a bridge in Kawthaung, southeast Burma, killing 10 people. A number of fishing trawlers are missing at sea.The MaldivesDead: 10The Maldives has declared a state of emergency as the tsunami flooded two-thirds of its capital.

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publicado por João Carvalho Fernandes às 18:20
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