280,000 Latest Tsunami Death Toll

January 25, 2005

A month after the devastating tsunamis struck Southeast Asia the death toll continues to rise. The latest figures from Indonesia’s Health Minister Fadilah Supari, as reported by the BBC, now estimate that at least 220,000 people perished on the island of Sumatra when the killer waves hit.

The figure increases the country’s death toll by 50,000, but another 133,000 people are still reported missing, and hope is rapidly fading of finding many of them alive. Supari told the BBC that between 95,000 and 100,000 bodies have so far been recovered and buried. Some are still being found in the wreckage, but many more will probably never be found.

The new figures raise the overall death toll to more than 280,000. The loss of life from the disaster is one of the highest totals in human history. In the last 100 years only the cyclones that hit Bangladesh in 1970 took more lives. Estimates now put the death toll from the earthquake in Tangshan China in 1976 at around 240,000.

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