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Red Cross: Tsunami Death Toll Could Top 100,000 - 2004-12-30


The death toll from Sunday's tsunami in South Asia has soared to 116,000, with Indonesia's Health Ministry reporting a sharp rise in deaths.

Indonesia announced today Thursday the number of dead now stands at more than 79,000 -- up from 52,000 reported earlier in the day.

Relief officials warn that four days after the tsunami and earthquake, parts of Indonesia's Sumatra island remain inaccessible, and many people are still missing.

Sumatra has been hardest hit in the disaster. The island was just several hundred kilometers from the epicenter of Sunday's massive underwater earthquake that triggered the tsunami.

The huge waves pounded shorelines in at least 12 Indian Ocean countries from Malaysia to East Africa.

International aid workers are working frantically to get food and supplies to the millions of people left homeless or injured. They also warn that an outbreak of disease due to a lack of sanitation and clean water could claim many more lives.

So far, Sri Lanka has reported more than 24,000 deaths, while India has reported about 10,000. Thailand has confirmed nearly 2,000 dead.

Deaths were also reported in Burma, Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Maldives, Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya and Seychelles.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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