Tsunami toll passes 80,000 people as relief effort continues

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December 29, 2004

The death toll from the earthquake and tsunamis that has hit countries in Asia and Eastern Africa continues to rise, passing 80,000 people according to reports from several news agencies. A spokesman for the Red Cross speculated that the toll could increase to over 100,000 as some of the smaller islands in the Indian Ocean are checked, and a U.N. official said that the death toll might eventually approach 80,000 in Indonesia alone.

The immediate fatalities from the earthquake and resulting tsunamis are but a fraction of the total effect from the disaster. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 5 million people lack food, water or basic sanitation necessary for survival. Officials continue to struggle with burying the dead and delivering basic suvival provisions to the population in the coastal and island areas most hit by the disaster.

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