Quake and tsunami toll may top 100,000
The death toll in Sunday's earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean could top 100,000, the International Red Cross said yesterday.
"We're facing a disaster of unprecedented proportion in nature," said Simon Missiri, Asia Pacific chief at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The official death toll, based on figures provided by each affected country, is nearly 70,000, said the federation's Operations Support chief Peter Rees.
More than 32,500 are reported dead in Indonesia; 22,000 in Sri Lanka; 12,500 in India; and 1,538 in Thailand.
A total of 285 are reported dead in Bangladesh, Kenya, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, the Seychelles, Somalia and Tanzania, Rees said.
A tourist from Hong Kong was the second confirmed Chinese casualty after a Taiwan tourist was counted among the dead earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
At least 25 injured Chinese were in local hospitals in Thailand alone, Sakarn Suthipradit, minister of the Royal Thai Embassy in China, said yesterday.
China yesterday donated US$300,000 to the Thai Government. Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai said the second batch of aid materials are prepared.
400 Chinese missing
About 400 Chinese are still missing.
The latest data from Hong Kong authorities said at least 388 residents have not yet contacted their families, while 664 are still trapped in the region struck by the tsunami catastrophe.
Of those 388 residents, 325 went missing in Phuket, 14 in Sri Lanka, seven in Malaysia, six in Maldives and the remainder in other countries.
Also missing in the hit areas are about 2,000 Scandinavians and 1,000 Germans.
The Hong Kong government has dispatched a 120-strong search team to trace Hong Kong residents, said Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee.
Five more mainlanders and eight from Taiwan are also missing in Phuket, according to Pan Guangxue, a counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand.
In Beijing, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and visiting Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar of Sri Lanka stood for a minute of silence for the victims before their official talks.
A minute of silence was also observed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange yesterday before its opening.
Hong Kong Travel Industry Council Executive Director Joseph Tung said all 1,300 group tourists in 30 to 40 tours visiting Phuket have returned.
Apart from government aid, people in China started to make individual contributions.
In Hong Kong, local relief organizations have filed applications with the authorities.
Movie star, Jackie Chan, and New World Group, have donated a total of HK$1 million to Unicef.