The death toll in the killer tsunami tidal waves rose Monday rapidly to nearly 5,000 across south and east India as massive search and rescue operations were launched in all the regions hit by the natural disaster.
Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu was the worst hit state, accounting for 2,500 deaths, while 2,000 people were killed in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located on the east coast of India, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
As many as 280 deaths were reported in Pondicherry, located in south India, while 123 people were killed in southern Indian stateof Kerala.
Several thousands were reported missing across the tsunami-hit regions in the country.
Massive search and rescue operations have been launched with medicines and supplies being airlifted to the affected regions.
The toll in the Andaman and Nicobar islands was feared to be in thousands but information was hard to come by because radio communication with the islands was still down, PTI quoted a local police officer as saying.
"You can imagine the situation as the islands spread over 800 km. The toll will be much higher. We are very apprehensive as we do not know what has happened in Nan Cowrie group of islands at all," he said.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil held a meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to review search and rescue operations.