Quake and Tsunami Death Toll Could Be in the Thousands
Thousands are believed to be buried under rubble on Pacific islands ravaged by earthquakes this week and many more were washed out to sea by a resulting tsunami, relief workers estimated today.
The tsunami death toll was estimated to be about 150 in the Samoan islands while Indonesian officials put the casualty rate from earthquakes at 1,100, the Associated Press reports.
But Josettte Sheeran, excutive director of the World Food Program, estimated that those numbers will rise dramatically, and said the latest "wave of devastation" that rippled through the islands in recent days was "a distressing reminder of the destruction which occurred during the 2004 tsunami" which killed hundreds of thousands over several continents. Sheeran said quakes that shattered buildings in Indonesia caused widespread destruction. "Thousands are believed to be buried under the ruins," she said.
Hospitals are overflowing with the injured and the region's mosques are filled with the homeless whose neighborhoods have been destroyed.
"In the Samoan islands, thousands of people are still trapped under the rubble and many have been swept out to sea," she said. Homeless survivors are being drenched with heavy rains.
The Phillipines was also rocked by flooding and the WFP said they need to gear up to feed 1 million people.By JOSH GAYNOR
Oct. 1, 2009
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