Current estimates indicate over 120,000 dead -- primarily from tsunamis that killed people over a thousand miles away from the epicenter. There's video available of the tsunamis at:
ronnietan near Penang, Malaysia says:
"Home was hit by Tidal wave . . . practically lost everything....family is fine...thank god... *lost of words to rant* to all out there... appreciate what you have...even the smallest things and event that u consider irrelevant.. cause after this mishap...well..view's on life has change alot for me.. * sigh* back to cleaning up and getting home back on its feet"
ellie_elephant in Phuket, Thailand says:
"my dad woke me up this morning at 8 o'clock, shouting "Earthquake! Earthquake!" Keep in mind that I had just woken up, I had had three hours sleep, and I live in Phuket, a place that isn't supposed to have earthquakes. So I stood there, gaping at the shaking furniture, while my dad paced around some more. A minute later, the table kindly stopped shivering and I went back to sleep. All was fine and dandy, even with the neighbours' kids screaming at the helicopters flying overhead.
At noon, my dad woke me up again, shouting, 'Tsunami! Tsunami!' Quite awake now, my brain finally put together the immensely complicated three piece puzzle of, "Earthquake. Helicopters. Tsunami. Ergo, things are not as they should be." It's one of the most surreal days I've had in a long long time.
First of all: I. Am. Fine . . . Others aren't so lucky. The epicentre of the quake was in the north of Sumatra, about 250 km from Phuket. We had slight tremors at around 8 in the morning, and then tidal waves about 16 feet high hit the West coast of Phuket (Rawai, Patong), the Similans, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi Islands. The wave reached 300 m inland at Patong and swept hundreds of tourists into the sea. If you'd have asked me two days ago, I'd have said that the worst thing that's happened to me in a while was getting my period on Christmas Eve. Irony really likes to fuck with people, doesn't it?
So, because I don't feel like regurgitating all the facts and figures, go here, and here, and here. By the time I've finished this post, the body count will no doubt be higher.
I feel... odd. Kind of detached. I know that terrible things are happening only about a 20 minute drive away from my comfy home, and yet it doesn't feel like anything but numbers. First the earthquake in Sumatra was 8.1 on the Richter scale. Then it was 8.5, and now it's confirmed to be 8.9. Right. I can figure out the amount of energy in Joules the quake took, using equations and logarithms, but I can't begin to wrap my mind around the consequences. Thousands of people are dead, and more are injured or lost at sea, but I can't feel anything."
meilathena in Medan, Indonesia says:
"There was a kinda big earthquake in my place this morning . . . It woke me up, and I ran downstairs amazingly fast . . . That was shocking. I thought this house will be ruined, but thank God it's not . . . 2 tsunamis in Lhokseumawe. A town near my place! The first tsunami was as high as one coconut tree, and the second one was worse ... 2 times taller than the first one. That makes bad flood in 2 villages there, and some villages around that town."
ccmbrown from Bangkok, Thailand emailed me to say:
"more than a thousand people died here because of Tsunami.And the son of our princess died too.We all so sad about that. And...*open the newspaper* for the corals,they said that we must use more than 10 years to heal them and now there're many tourists waiting for the rescues in eight islands in the west side of the south of Thailand(Hong Island,Kai Island,Poda Island,Hang Nag Cape,Rai Lay Bay,PP Island,Jum Island and Lanta Island)...for about 800 of tourists.I will send 10 helicopters to help them and including doctors,medicines and foods."
coolprasad in Madras, India said:
"My city, Chennai (Madras) in South India is one of the worst hit parts by the tsunamis triggered by the quake. Marina beach, which I frequent a lot is throwing up dead bodies since yesterday morning. Water has come into the city. The beautiful beach road is partially submerged. Hundreds of fishermen are missing, the media says, and we know what became of them. The official toll, so far is 2500 in TN, my state. Since the chief minister has announced Rs.1,00,000 for every family that has lost a member, the official toll would in no way near the real figure.
My uncle residing near the beach said that he woke upto a rude but brief jolt and found everything okay after a while. Then, the tsunamis, the giant killer waves, slowly showed their presence. Nagapattinam, home of around 5000 fishermen is very badly hit. Many were at sea and their families lived close to the shore. The hospitals are ill-equipped to handle such big-scale emergencies. The top bureaucrats would see this as an opportunity to swindle from the emergency relief fund. Thanks to the public that are providing fantastic humanitarian assistance. They need to be educated about the potential outbreak of epidemics (open drainage mixing with water and flowing around the streets) and the means to prevent them.
Whenever I saw a bunch of corpses that belonged to Palestine or Sudan, I would go 'Oh my god! It's terrible' and continue my routine. Today morning, brushing my teeth, I didn't find the usual boring face in the mirror. I was unusually very aware and conscious of my morning routine activities that 'routine' seems an inappropriate word to describe my yoga and shitting and bathing and eating. Yes, I'm alive."
hserus in Madras, India says:
"Widespread damage, thousands of lives lost across Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India ... a tsunami swamping the beaches in Madras at just the right time to sweep away a large crowd of morning joggers. Priya and I are safe, barring a nasty shock when she was jerked out of bed early today morning by the quake, and I was sleepily muttering "just an earthquake, get back to sleep" before I woke up and flipped on the TV ... We've left the TV on, flipping back and forth from one news channel to another, one horrendous picture to another, is making us more than a bit shell shocked."
dhruhini, whose family is in Sri Lanka, says:
"Thankfully my parents are okay - they have not been affected physically. However we have lost some of our closest friends. . . The death toll in Sri Lanka alone is over 13,000 right now and is expected to rize to about 15,000 within the next 24 hours. Over a million people (5% of the total population of the island) have been left homeless and have been evacuated to shelters further inland. However they are direly in need of food and medicine and water - please do anything you can to help. I know the Red Cross and the UN are accepting donations right now, and they are also looking for doctors that are willing to help."
notanangel78 in Chennai, India says in a comment:
"I am closer to the beach. A church by the beach is supposedly flooded, and there are reports of people being drowned, while in Church. I wonder if they got trapped or something! Luckily not much damage near where I stay..."
vyshnavi in Bangalore says:
"The beach is totally flooded. Chennai without a beach feels totally weird, even though its only temporary... People around the beach have been forced to evacuate. Looks sad."
rulinian in Madras says:
"We had tremors, and floods. Apparently there are dead bodies up the coastline. Fuck . . . we're fine. But scared."
"I'm scared . . . my best friend, alyssa (tutti_frutti_) is currently on holiday in Langkawi, Malaysia. . . if Pinang (Pulau Pinang) has been affected by this (8 people have died) then Langkawi must\ have been affected too. The tidal wave would have had to pass through Langkai before it reached Penang. Puhkhet was badly affected, and that's not THAT far above Langkawi. My god i hope she and her family are okay . . . I can't believe this many people have died. This is horrible..."
From darthmyrrh in Thailand:
"in my country, the death toll is now four hundreds and counting. (You can always expect it to be much higher, 'coz the goddamned government wouldn't want the people to 'panic' by showing the real death toll) . . . And THEY DID NOT GET ANY FUCKING WARNING. . . Nothing. Because some machine in Phuket was broken, and they were 'still waiting' for the budget to get a new one. The officers there didn't even know when the first quake occurs. Oh, by the way, you might want to get the dvd of 'The Beach'. Because that beach you saw in the movie is gone..."
And it is. These pictures from Phuket show just how quickly the tsunami came ashore, and just how horrible it was.
The final outcome speaks for itself. Here's a small list of organizations accepting donations to help the victims.
I'll keep this post updated as more info comes in. Please feel free to share additional information in the comments below.
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