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Presumed death toll in Asian tsunamis passes 290,000
JAKARTA (AFP) Feb 02, 2005
The number of people presumed dead in December's earthquake and tsunamis rose to more than 290,000 Wednesday, with Indonesian authorities announcing a further increase in the number of dead.

Indonesia was hardest-hit by the December 26 quake and tsunamis, with a total 237,071 people listed as dead or missing, the health ministry said.

A health ministry official said the 127,774 people listed as missing but who almost certainly perished would only be considered dead after one year.

Thailand's toll remained at 5,393 confirmed dead. A further 3,071 people were listed as missing, more than 1,000 of them foreigners.

The toll in Sri Lanka, which was second hardest hit by the catastrophe, stood at 30,957, according to the Centre for National Operations.

The number of people listed as missing was 5,637, but many were expected to be among those never formally identified, hurriedly buried and included in the confirmed death toll.

In neighbouring India, the official death toll has reached 10,749 with 5,640 still reported missing and feared dead.

The government said Monday that it would make up its final casualty figures in "about a week" in which it is expected to declare the missing dead.

Myanmar has said 61 people were killed in the tsunamis, against an estimated 90 deaths according to the United Nations.

At least 82 people were killed and another 26 were missing in the Maldives.

Sixty-eight people were dead in Malaysia, most of them in Penang, according to police, while Bangladesh reported two deaths.

Fatalities also occurred on the east coast of Africa where 298 people were declared dead in Somalia, 10 in Tanzania and one in Kenya.

Relief workers have said they believe the figure for Somali fatalities to be exaggerated.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra measured 9.0 on the Richter scale, making it the largest quake worldwide in four decades.

Death toll

Indonesia: 237,071

   Sri Lanka:   30,957
   India:       16,389
   Thailand:     5,393
   Maldives:        82
   Malaysia:        68
   Myanmar:         61
   Bangladesh:       2

   Somalia:        298
   Tanzania:        10
   Kenya:            1

   Total:      290,332

* The figures include 127,774 listed as missing in Indonesia and 5,640 in India

In addition, 3,071 people are listed as missing in Thailand and 5,637 in Sri Lanka but not included in the toll because of possible double counting.

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