|UNICEF staff in Copenhagen packing New Emergency Health Kits for Sri Lanka|
Earthquake originating off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered the tsunamis. Villages and resorts were slammed with waves of water, some reaching as high as 20 feet. Tourists, fishermen, homes and cars were all swept away. The strongest earthquake measured 9.0 on the Richter Scale, making it the most powerful earthquake in 40 years.
In Sri Lanka, 1,000 miles west of the epicenter, the Government has declared a state of emergency. Among other countries affected are Indonesia, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. All communications have been severed to the Sumatran towns closest to the epicenter.
The death toll is expected to rise dramatically as the full impact of the devastation unfolds. Multitudes of people are still reported missing and unaccounted for. A United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team is being dispatched today in order to asses the needs of those affected by the disaster, especially women and children.