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Massive Earthquake Rocks Indonesia

Reports are inconsistent at this point, but one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded (magnitude 8.5 8.9) struck off of Indonesia's Sumatra Island, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center. Massive tidal waves have been reported throughout the region.

(CNN) -- Many people are feared dead after the largest earthquake to shake the planet in nearly 40 years jolted Southeast Asia Sunday.

Initial reports say tidal waves may have killed as many as 160 people in Sri Lanka and 26 in southern India.

More deaths are feared in Thailand and Indonesia.

More from the Australia's ABC, including a Indonesian estimate that the quake was 6.8. At this point monitoring agencies all over the world are reporting that the magnitude was over 8.

Update: It's as bad as was initially feared.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - An earthquake of epic power roiled the Indian Ocean on Sunday morning, unleashing 20-foot walls of water that came crashing down on Asian beaches in six countries across thousands of miles, smashing seaside resorts and villages and leaving nearly 10,000 dead in their wake.

The death toll along the southern coast of Asia - and as far west as Somalia, on the African coast, where nine people were reported lost - was certain to increase, as authorities sorted out a far-flung disaster caused by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake, strongest in 40 years and fifth-largest in a century.

The earthquake hit at 6:58 a.m.; the tsunami came as much as 2 1/2 hours later, without warning, on a morning of crystal blue skies. Sunbathers and snorkelers, cars and cottages, fishing boats and even a lighthouse were swept away.

Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India each reported thousands dead, and Thailand, a Western tourist hotspot, said hundreds were dead and thousands missing.

Kevin McCullough has additional details, and Joe Gandelman has a roundup of details from Asian blogs.

Update 2: The magnitude has now been set at 9.0 and the death toll continues to mount - over 13,000.

Comments (4)

It's been upgraded to 8.9. ... (Below threshold)

It's been upgraded to 8.9. Lest we think that's only a minor change since the Richter scale is logarithmic that's an earthquake four times as great.

Lets note now for the recor... (Below threshold)

Lets note now for the record that we're going to give lots of aid to the effected nations.....which include plenty who were more than happy to paint us as the greatest threat to the world because they disagreed with us about Iraq. When these homeless and posessionless people are eating food, wearing clothes and sleeping in blankets provided by our generosity, I sure hope they have the decency to remember what us monsters in the United States have done for them.

over 24,000 dead. Lots of p... (Below threshold)

over 24,000 dead. Lots of people all their way there need shots because of the diseases that are going to come out of his horrendous disaster. Millions coming from the US, 7 mil coming from Australia.

And Fox just said they're still waiting for the UN to do something about this situation. Like Darfur and Armenia, are they going to ignore this too?


this earthquake has killed ... (Below threshold)

this earthquake has killed the many loved ones and also caused a tsunami, according to what i heard. Are people going to just stand there and watch or are they gonna help by donating money?







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