>>> The News: JAY KAY!
By staff writer Amir Blumenfeld
December 29, 2004

The real news (for boring people)
The breakdown (for college people)

Tsunami Death Toll Near 77,000 as Aid Arrives

By LELY T. DJUHARI, Associated Press Writer

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – Cargo planes touched down with aid Wednesday, bearing everything from lentils to water purifiers to help survivors facing the threat of epidemic after this week’s quake-tsunami catastrophe. The first Indonesian military teams reached the devastated west coast of Sumatra island, finding thousands of bodies and increasing the death toll across 12 nations to nearly 77,000.

Are lentils the opposite of water? Is that what they’re implying? I’m not sure I get it.

The international Red Cross warned that the toll could eventually surpass 100,000. The race was on to try to prevent an outbreak of diseases and to curb food shortages among millions of homeless — which the U.N. health agency said could kill as many as the waves and quake.

100,000 dead is 1/100 as many as Hurricane Hitler. Though he was more of a dictator.

Sri Lanka said it was getting its first reports of measles and diarrhea. Paramedics in southern India began vaccinating 65,000 survivors against cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and dysentery, and authorities sprayed bleaching powder on beaches where bodies have been recovered.

Do they have the authorities to do that?

“Even those people who (didn’t lose homes) can’t get food. Nothing is available,” said Father Raja Perera, of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic church in Sri Lanka’s second largest city, the hard-hit southern resort of Galle, where refugees from ravaged homes crowded into churches, Buddhist temples and mosques.

“Maybe I should be trying to find food instead of doing interviews. But hey, I’m a sucker for the media!”

Town after town along Indonesia’s Sumatran coast was covered with mud and sea water, with homes flattened or torn apart, an Associated Press reporter saw on a helicopter overflight with the military commander of the island’s Aceh province. The only signs of life were a handful of villagers scavenging for food on the beach.

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AND THEN the tsunami’s came and made everything even worse!

Western Sumatra suffered a double blow in Sunday’s disaster, shattered both by the most powerful earthquake in 40 years and perhaps the deadliest tsunami in recorded history, which wreaked destruction across a dozen nations.

Tsunami: The T is Tsilent.

The first military teams reached the devastated fishing town of Meulaboh on Sumatra’s coast and across the coast they found thousands of bodies, bringing Indonesia’s toll to 45,268, according to the Health Ministry’s official count. That toll was likely to rise — one official on Tuesday estimated that as many as 10,000 people were dead in Meulaboh alone.

Heart disease is still the #1 cause of death in Indonesia, but much like these fishing towns, it is losing ground quickly.

Sri Lanka on Wednesday listed more than 22,400 people dead, India close to 7,000 — with 8,000 missing and feared dead. Thailand put its toll at more than 1,800. Another 340 were killed in Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Somalia, Tanzania and Kenya.

“Yeah, I ain’t leavin’ ’til I’m KNEE deep. Been my motto for thirty five years and it ain’t never done failed me yet!”

From East Africa to southern Asia, chances faded of finding more survivors of Sunday’s massive, quake-driven walls of water. Tens of thousands of people were still missing. German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder said 1,000 Germans were unaccounted for.

“There’s simply not enough milk cartons in all of Indonesia to find all these missing persons,” Rev. Gundujar said. “Plus, we all look alike so that wouldn’t help anyway….”

“We have to fear that a number of Germans clearly in the three-digit numbers will be among the dead,” Schroeder told reporters. Currently, 26 Germans have been confirmed dead.

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Does 026 count as a three digit number?

“We have little hope, except for individual miracles,” Chairman Jean-Marc Espalioux of the Accor hotel group said of the search for thousands of tourists and locals missing from beach resorts of southern Thailand — including more than 2,000 Scandinavians.

Because you can’t spell Scandinavian without NAIVE! (Yes you can.)

In a field in Banda Aceh, the capital of Sumatra’s Aceh province, bulldozers shoved more than 1,000 unidentified bodies into mass graves. The corpses had been picked off the city’s streets as authorities rushed to get decaying bodies into the ground.

STREEEEETCCCHHHH “What a delightful 3 day nap that was! I feel as rested as a beauty queen! Hey what’s that odor?”

“What worries us is the lack drinking water,” said Dr. Georg Petersen, the World Health Organization representative in Indonesia. “That means that people might drink contaminated water and they can get sick from waterborne diseases like diarrhea.”

“Then what will worry us is the lack of food,” Dr. Petersen continued. “That means people might eat diarrhea and can get sick from diarrhea borne diseases like dehydration.

Four relief planes arrived in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, bringing a surgical hospital from Finland, a water purification plant from Germany, doctors and medicine from Japan and aid workers from Britain, the Red Cross said.

Oddly enough Sri Lanka’s capital does NOT have a lazy eye.

Meanwhile, trucks fanned out across the island nation to deliver bandages, antibiotics, tents, blankets and other supplies to the hardest hit areas, the southern and eastern coast. A dozen trucks left the U.N. World Food Program depot in Colombo on Tuesday. The military said a fleet of 64 trucks packed with rice, sugar, tents and other essentials entered Tamil areas Wednesday.

And that ends my humorous commentary without ANY “Phuket” puns. HA! WHO’S MATURE NOW!!

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