The UN has sent experts to help with rescue and relief work in Indonesia, India and other Asian countries stricken by powerful earthquakes and tidal waves, a UN spokesman said on Sunday.
"The secretary-general was profoundly saddened to learn of the massive loss of life and destruction caused by a series of earthquakes and tidal waves in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans today," spokesman Fred Eckhard said in a statement.
An 8.9-magnitude underwater earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra Sunday morning. The quake and its aftershocks triggered tsunamis that hit India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and four other Asian countries. The death toll from the disasters has surpassed the mark of 10,000.
Annan "extends his sincere condolences to the people and governments of the countries affected as they cope with their catastrophic losses," Eckhard said.
"The United Nations stands ready to provide the assistance necessary to meet the needs created by these natural disasters," he added.
"United Nations disaster and coordination teams are being dispatched throughout the region to work with governments of affected countries in providing rescue and relief assistance."
(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2004)