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2 Chinese Dead, 25 Wounded in Thai Tsunami

An official with the Thai Embassy to China said Wednesday that two Chinese nationals were killed and 25 wounded by the devastating tidal waves that struck Thailand and several other countries on Sunday.

The Foreign Ministry said one of those killed was from Hong Kong and the other from Taiwan Province.

Sakarn Suthipradit, minister of the Thai Embassy in China, said at a press conference that the Thai Foreign Ministry organized a special flight on December 26 to the resort island of Phuket to provide assistance to foreign nationals on matters regarding immigration, transit and flights back to their home countries.

"The Thai prime minister has authorized the foreign ministry to advance travel expenses for tourists who have lost their documents and personal belongings to return to their countries, as well as expenses of returning the deceased to their respective countries," said Sakarn.

Sakarn expressed cordial thanks to the assistance provided by international community, including China.

"The Thai government highlights the need for medical and forensic experts as well as supplies including body bags, embalming chemicals, freezer containers, first-aid kits, antidiarrhea and antibiotic medicine, canned food, power generators and water purifiers," Sakarn said.

Sakarn said that information and photos of missing persons could be obtained at www.phuketitcity.com and other websites to check for rescue information are http://ems.narenthorn.or.th, www.moph.go.th and www.disaster.go.th.

A total of 1,829 people have been confirmed dead in Thailand, most of them Western tourists, and about 5,000 more remain missing.

Some of the other nations struck by the killer tsunami are confronting even greater devastation: Indonesia's Aceh Province has so far reported more than 45,000 dead and Sri Lanka over 22,000.

Nearly 11,000 have been confirmed dead in India, but there have so far been few reports from the remote Andaman and Nicobar islands, located near the epicenter of the massive earthquake that created the tsunami. About 350,000 people inhabit the Andaman Islands.

Large aftershocks have continued to rock the region since Sunday. The US Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 6.2 quake near the Nicobar Islands at about 6:00 AM UTC on Wednesday, following a slightly milder one of magnitude 6.1 at 1:50 AM. A quake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale, centered near northern Sumatra, was recorded at about 9:00 PM UTC.

(China.org.cn, Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2004)

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