The recorded death toll from Sunday's tsunami in South Asia has soared to nearly 120-thousand, and international officials are warning the number is likely to keep rising as rescue crews sift through the devastation.
Indonesia's Health Ministry on Thursday reported about 80-thousand deaths on northern Sumatra island -- up from 52-thousand reported earlier in the day. Thousands of people are still missing -- four days after a massive underwater earthquake near Sumatra triggered massive waves that pounded a dozen Indian Ocean coastlines. The United Nations is also repeating warnings that the greatest threat now facing the region is disease. U.N. relief official Jan Egeland said outbreak of illnesses like cholera, typhoid, or malaria could claim as many lives as the disaster. Relief officials in the region say the tsunami obliterated entire towns in the hardest-hit countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India's outlying Nicobar and Andaman islands. Many parts of those countries are still not accessible to relief workers. So far, Sri Lanka has reported more than 24-thousand deaths, while India has reported about 10-thousand. Thailand has confirmed about 24-hundred dead. Burma, Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Maldives, Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya and Seychelles also have recorded fatalities.