Relief agencies struggled to combat disease and homelessness as the death toll from the weekend's &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2001/01/15/2005.html ' target=_blank>earthquake and tsunamis in Asia passed 80,000, with more than half the fatalities in Indonesia.
The death count climbed as more bodies were washed ashore and tallies came in from remote parts of the countries along the Indian Ocean hit by giant waves, triggered by a quake Dec. 26 of magnitude 9.0 off the coast of Indonesia. Thousands of people are missing, and deaths from diseases such as dysentery and &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/accidents/2001/11/29/22339.html ' target=_blank>cholera may mount unless clean water, food and shelter are provided soon, relief officials said.
"Standing water can be just as deadly as moving water," United Nations Children's Fund chief Carol Bellamy said in a statement. "Hundreds of thousands of children who survived the massive waves that destroyed their communities now risk getting seriously ill from something as simple as taking a drink of water", reports Bloomberg.
With tens of thousands of people still missing, Peter Ress, operations support chief for the International Federation of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/region/2002/07/02/31623.html ' target=_blank>Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the figure for the dead and missing would be "absolutely enormous."
"I would not be surprised that we are over 100,000 dead when we start seeing what's happened in, particularly, (India's) Nicobar and the Andaman Islands," he said.
More than 500,000 people were reported injured. The federation has so far been unable to assess the total number of missing.