The earthquake off the coast of Indonesia and tsunamis that swept shores from Thailand to Sri Lanka have killed at least 125,000 people, according to Reuters.
1,500 missing Swedes feared dead
Stockholm says there's little hope for some 1,500 Swedes still unaccounted for in Thailand. This would give Sweden
the highest number of foreign casualties in Phuket.
Of all the Nordic countries, Sweden is the worst affected. Officials say when the waves struck, some 20,000 to 30,000 Swedes were believed to be travelling in the areas.
The government's figure of unaccounted for tourists is slightly below an earlier 1,600 estimate by tourism officials. Thai authorities said as of Wednesday, 54 Swedes were confirmed dead.
Sweden has now stepped up air transport to and from Thailand. The government is aiming to fly 20,000 nationals home by January 4th.
Meanwhile Gerhard Schroeder had somber news about the fate of German tourists.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said: "So far, 26 German citizens have been confirmed dead. Around 1,000 Germans are still missing.
In light of the terrible destruction by the tidal wave, we must fear a clear three-digit number of Germans will be among the dead."
Schroeder said he'd propose a debt moratorium for Indonesia and Somalia among Paris Club members. Germany will increase its immediate financial assistance to 20 million Euros, or about 27 million US Dollars.
China airlifts relief goods to Indonesia
A Boeing 747 plane carrying 50 tons of relief goods left Guangzhou in south China for tsunami-stricken Indonesia Thursday, said an official of the Ministry of Commerce.
The destination is Medan, capital of North Sumatra, Indonesia, according to the China Southern Airlines that operates the cargo flight.
This is the second batch of relief goods China has sent to the tsunami-hit countries in south and southeast Asian countries. The first batch of 100-ton cargoes was airlifted to Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, Wednesday morning.
The two batches of relief goods, worth 21.63 million yuan (2.62 million US dollars), are mainly tents, blankets, sheets and food that are badly needed by the people affected by the tsunami.