Snapshots of a tragedy

Snapshots of a tragedy

Dec 26: TSUNAMI HITS 13 NATIONS

"We have never seen anything like this. The waves just kept coming. We have fled to high areas for safety." -Mr Kibaret Sarumaha, a resident of Nias, Indonesia

A MASSIVE underwater quake measuring 9.1 on the Richter scale rocks the seabed 300km west of Medan, Sumatra, at 7.58am Indonesia time (8.58am Singapore time), triggering a tsunami.

Waves as high as 15m hit the coasts of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and nine other countries. Initial counts put the death toll at more than 10,000.

Dec 27: DEATH TOLL DOUBLES

"Death came from the sea. The waves just kept chasing us. It swept away all our huts. What did we do to deserve this?" -Ms Satya Kumari, a construction worker living near Pondicherry, India

THE estimated death toll more than doubles to over 22,000. Experts warn of more giant tidal waves caused by fresh tremors.

The United Nations warns of an epidemic caused by a lack of clean water and sanitation, unless aid arrives swiftly.

In Indonesia's conflict-torn Aceh province, the military calls for a temporary ceasefire with separatist rebels.

Dec 28: SAF SENDS FIRST SUPPLIES

"This catastrophe is worse than anything I have ever seen." -Singaporean Robert Khoo, who donated all the pieces of sterile wash in stock at his pharmaceutical company for first aid

DEATH toll crosses 55,000, with many thousands still unaccounted for.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) sends its first batch of supplies to support Indonesia's recovery efforts, including tents, blankets and food.

Sri Lanka's air force evacuates former German chancellor Helmut Kohl from the hotel where he is stranded. Action star Jet Li and his daughter, holidaying in the Maldives, have a narrow escape.

Dec 29: DEATH TOLL NEARS 100,000

"Things are moving very quickly towards establishing an Indian Ocean warning system and I know there will be a lot of discussion in Kobe with delegates saying that we have to do something immediately." -Dr Laura Kong, director of the International Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii, ahead of a UN-sponsored conference on disaster reduction in Japan

MORE than 80,000 now confirmed dead, with more than half from Indonesia.

Singapore commits additional military equipment and up to 700 personnel from the SAF and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), to be deployed to Indonesia and Thailand.

India announces plans to install an early-warning system to detect tsunamis.

Dec 30: AFTERSHOCKS CREATE PANIC

"I was sleeping, but fled outside in panic. If I am going to die, I will die here. Just let it be." -Banda Aceh resident Kaspian, on the aftershocks

RESIDENTS flee coasts in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, heeding warnings of new tsunamis, as strong aftershocks reverberate off Sumatra.

Alerts are called off later.

Amid the hopelessness and death, comes a glimmer of light with the miraculous rescue of Mr Zamani, 25, in Banda Aceh, four days after the tsunami.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong calls for an urgent meeting of ASEAN leaders to coordinate responses to the tragedy in the region, a move supported by the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Dec 31: INDONESIA BEARS THE BRUNT

"Even the most experienced forensic pathologist has never been exposed to such a scene. But we have to brace ourselves. We will do the best we can with whatever we have at hand." -Dr Suresh Pillai, who headed the National Healthcare Group's medical team to Sri Lanka

MORE than 100,000 confirmed dead in Indonesia alone, which brings the total death toll to over 144,000.

SAF contingent, which includes 470 personnel, heavy equipment and relief supplies, leaves for Meulaboh, a town on Sumatra's west coast that was devastated.

The US deploys a five-ship battle group, lead by Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, to Indonesia.

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