Latest Tsunami toll: 18,000 dead, 10,000 missing, 500,000 displaced
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 December 2004, 10:24 GMT]
Latest figures gathered by TamilNet from Sri Lanka Government sources indicate a casualty figures of 18,000 dead, 10,000 still missing and 500,000 displaced in the worst ever disaster Sri Lanka has encountered by the tsunami waves that hit the island Sunday morning.
Residents of Amparai appeared to have suffered the worst as its coast lay closest to the epicenter of the earthquake. The force of tsunami waves would have been the worst along areas of Amparai coast. More than 13,000 have been counted as dead with 6000 reported missing in Amparai.
Political and racial undercurrents began to surface as Sri Lanka's Prime Minister "spoke against direct relief aid to Tamil rebels," according to an Associated Press report, even as the Liberation Tigers accused the Sri Lanka Government of not sending aid to affected areas in the NorthEast.
"...an official of an international aid agency reported Wednesday that Sinhalese mobs were blocking relief trucks from reaching the frontier, diverting the supplies to their own hard-hit communities.
At least four trucks were stopped by a low-ranking government official from crossing into the Tamil zone, said the official on condition of anonymity," said the AP report datelined December 29 3:13pm.
Meanwhile, expatriate Tamils in European Countries, Canada and United States are mobilizing their forces behind the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) to provide the urgent and immediate relief needs for the NorthEast. TamilNet is collecting information on the progress of this effort and will file a report.