Secaucus— It is now impossible to believe this was just three nights ago, the official death toll from the Christmas Tsunami in the Indian Ocean stood at only 24,000.
Now, the latest Reuters count, is 125,282. But according to Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia, three days from now, we may find it equally impossible to believe that this number was so low.
The State News Agency in Malaysia, Bernama, quotes Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia as saying today that three large communities in the Acheh province appear to have been totally destroyed— but are, as yet, inaccessible. “Aerial surveillance found the town of Meulaboh completely destroyed with only one building standing,” said Ambassador Drs H. Rusdihardjo.
Until Sunday morning, Meulaboh had 150,000 residents.
The Ambassador also says there were “no signs of life” in Pulau Simeuleu. It had a population of 76,000. Access to these areas— if only to see if anybody is still alive there— has been cut off due to the destruction of roads, and rapidly depleting fuel supplies. Aerial views of the area show not just devastation, but obliteration. Some communities are recognizable only because a few building foundations remain intact, like the chalk lines around a dead body. Others look like images from the 1889 flood in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, or the 1900 hurricane that destroyed much of Galveston, Texas.
Ambassador Rusdihardjo concluding that the death toll in Acheh Province, could exceed 400,000.
I just do not know what to think. There is nothing about this that could be real. How could it? I just wish there was more I could do.