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Third Chinese Confirmed Dead in Tsunami

The death of another SAR resident was confirmed yesterday, raising the death toll of Hong Kongers to two.


The authorities would only identify the latest casualty as a man. His body was found in Phuket, Thailand.


By early afternoon, 277 people from Hong Kong were officially classified as missing and 723 "potential" missing cases in the region. Of the 277 missing persons, 199 were last seen in Thailand, 24 in Indonesia, 13 in Sri Lanka, 12 in Malaysia, six in the Maldives and 23 in other places.


Deputy Secretary for Security, Michael Wong, said that in the past 24 hours, officials have tracked down about 180 of the 388 people reported missing on the previous day. "Some of them have got in touch with us since then and some are already back in Hong Kong," he said.


The death toll from last weekend's earthquake-tsunami catastrophe rose to more than 125,000 yesterday as Indonesia uncovered more and more dead from ravaged Sumatra island, where pilots dropped food to remote villages still unreachable by rescue workers.

By late yesterday, nearly 5,000 foreigners -- half from Sweden and Germany -- were missing, many of them in Thailand.


About 750 foreigners have been confirmed dead. Westerners killed in the disaster include 44 Swedes, 33 Germans, 27 British, 21 French, 21 Norwegians, 14 Italians, 14 Japanese, 12 Americans, 11 Swiss and 10 Australians.


The death toll increase came after Indonesia reported nearly 28,000 newly confirmed fatalities in Sumatra, which was closest to the epicentre of last weekend's massive 9.0 earthquake. The area was overwhelmed by the tsunami that followed. Some 60 per cent of Banda Aceh, the main city in northern Sumatra was destroyed, the UN children's agency estimated.


Indonesia, with around 80,000 dead, was the worst hit, followed by the island nation of Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. The total across 12 nations in southern Asia and East Africa is likely to rise yet again, with thousands still missing and fears that disease could bring a new wave of deaths.


Meanwhile, military ships and planes rushed to provide desperately needed aid to Sumatra's ravaged coastal areas. Countless corpses strewn on the streets rotted under the tropical sun causing a nearly unbearable stench.


Food drops began along the coast, mostly of instant noodles and medicines, with some of the areas "hard to reach because they are surrounded by cliffs," said Budi Aditutro, head of the government's relief team.


The number of deaths in Indonesia stood at about 52,000.


(Xinhua & China Daily December 31, 2004)


China Sent Quake Rescue Team to Indonesia
Chinese Medics Team Leaving for Thailand
Two Chinese Killed, 13 Injured in Tsunami
HK, Mainland Step Up Tsunami Relief Efforts
2 Chinese Dead, 25 Wounded in Thai Tsunami
Chinese Tourists Still Missing After Tsunami
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