Captain's Quarters Blog

« British Conservatives Get Serious About Smaller Government | Main | Israel Frees 159 Prisoners, Abbas Not Satisfied »

December 27, 2004
Tsunami Toll Tops 21,000, Disease Threatens Survivors

The death toll from the massive earthquake and the killer tidal waves it unleashed continues to climb. Estimates now number the dead at more than 21,000 and the bodies left in the water have health experts worried about a potential second tsunami of disease:

The death toll in a tsunami that slammed into coasts from India to Indonesia topped 21,000 on Monday as rescuers scoured the sea for missing tourists and soldiers raced to recover bodies amid growing fears of disease.

Sri Lankan military spokesman Daya Ratnayaka said 10,029 people had been killed in Sri Lanka alone.

The addition of more than 5,000 dead in the Indian Ocean island nation brought the total number of people reported dead from the waves unleashed from the world's biggest earthquake in 40 years to 21,559, with some 5,200 injured.

The bodies have not all been recovered, and crisis workers now warn that the rotting corpses in the water threaten water supplies in the areas affected by the tsunamis. In India, rescue workers have lit massive funeral pyres to act quuickly against the new threat. While that solution makes the most sense, it leaves little hope of identifying the individuals killed in the catastrophe. With over 6500 killed in India, it means that many families will never quite know where their loved ones died or know for sure that they have, at least not until they suffer a long, excruciating wait for a phone call that will never come.

In what can only be described as a secondary consideration, the European stock markets are taking a beating this morning. European insurers appear to lead the steep decline, but tourist groups have followed suit as many of the areas damaged and destroyed by the tsunamis were mid- to high-priced resort areas. The declines will keep fresh capital from availability for rebuilding, and the loss of tourism in these areas will stress the economies of these nations just when they need the money most.

Americans will recall the same economic dynamics from 9/11, when we more or less closed our borders and shut down our airline industry. That economic damage was largely and necessarily self-inflicted, although the insurance losses also devastated the capital investment markets, causing a net loss of over 20% on Wall Street. The ripple effects of the tsunamis will continue to be felt for years, if our experience provides any example, and the economic pain of the South Asian nations may prove destabilizing in some instances. We have our work cut out for us in the months ahead.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 27, 2004 6:00 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Tsunami Toll Tops 21,000, Disease Threatens Survivors:

» Earthquake Disaster in Asia from Pajama Hadin
Magnitude 9.0 - OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA 2004 December 26 00:58:50 UTC Largest on earth in 40 years. Death toll from Asian quake, tidal waves passes 13,700 "All the planet is vibrating" from the quake, said Enzo Boschi, the head... [Read More]

Tracked on December 27, 2004 9:20 AM

» from OKIE on the LAM - In LA
The tsunamis from the Sunday AM 9.0 earthquake just off Sumatra in the Indian Ocean have so far left a death toll of over 22,000. The whole island of Sumatra was moved 100 feet toward the southwest! The potential waves of disease from the rotting corps... [Read More]

Tracked on December 27, 2004 11:35 AM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!