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Whereabouts of 615 Koreans Unknown

Posted December. 29, 2004 22:44,   


The number of South Korean casualties from the deadly quake and tsunami off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia rose to four confirmed dead, 11 missing, 17 injured, and 615 unaccounted for as of 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday (Korean time).

An official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, “The whereabouts of 768 people are required to be identified by family members, but only 153 out of 768 were confirmed to be safe. The report of the whereabouts of family members in Thailand (400 people) and India (100 people) are the most frequently made.”

However, the official, stating off the record, said, “From the number of casualties announced for each affected country, in Thailand, the disaster prevention department, the number of Korean casualties was said to be 36 people.”

Meanwhile, Reuters, citing the tally reported by the governments and media of countries ravaged by the earthquake-triggered tsunamis, prospected that the total victim toll from this disaster could top 70,000 as of Wednesday.

However, it is predicted that the total victim toll could surpass one hundred thousand as the excavation of bodies and the damaged cites continues to grow.

The government expediently dispatched 15 people from the 119 rescue team on the same day to Thailand, and it is said that the government is working to send an army transportation plane to transport relief goods and also send the Emergency Disaster Relief Rehabilitating Unit of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to Thailand.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated that it opened three emergency hotlines (02-2100-7000, 7100, 7200) for calls relating to damages from this disaster and people who want to ask for the whereabouts of their loved ones.

The U.S. Army is said to have dispatched the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln to aid in the disaster relief.

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com