The world’s strongest earthquake in 40 years has left thousands dead across southern Asia.
The tremor that measured 8.9 on the richter scale triggered a massive sea surge which generated a wall of water that crashed into the Asian coastline. The death toll keeps rising. The worst hit area is believed to be Sri Lanka where some 2200 people have been killed. But India, Malaysia, Maldives, Thailand and Indonesia have also been severely affected. The death toll across the region stands at 6300. The epicentre of the quake struck under the sea near Aceh in north Indonesia unleashing a massive surge, a tsunami, that sped across thousands of kilometres of sea. In Indonesia more than 1800 were killed. The raging waters swept people out to sea. The worst affected area was Banda Aceh, the capital of the Aceh province. India’s south eastern coast was hard hit, in the state of Tamil Nadu alone the death toll is believed to be over 1600. Hundreds of fisherman are missing. In Thailand, popular holiday islands have been swamped. At least 223 people are dead there, and more than 1000 injured. Holiday makers have described seeing trucks and cars picked up by the waves and hurled to the ground. Amid fears of further aftershocks tourists and locals have been evacuated to higher ground. The low-lying Maldives islands were swept by the waters – the island is only about one metre above sea level. The island has declared a state of emergency – ten people are feared dead, it is believed no foreign visiters were killed.