WAVE WIPED US OUT: 23,700 CONFIRMED DEAD IN WORST EARTHQUAKE IN 40 YEARS; Entire Villages on Islands Destroyed Fears Death Toll Will Rise to 50,000
Byline: By Lee-Ann Fullerton
THE death toll from the devastating tsunami in Asia reached 23,700 last night.
Some now fear there could be as many as 50,000 victims.
Last night, aid agencies confirmed 30,000 were still among the missing.
Entire villages were wiped out in the tiny Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal. They lost more than 3000 residents in the disaster - 12 per cent of their population.
Thirteen Britons have so far been confirmed as being among the dead.
Ten were killed in Thailand, one in Sri Lanka and two in the Maldives.
The quake - an astonishing 9.0 on the Richter scale - sent a 30ft wall of water rushing at 300mph to countries as far apart as Somalia and Indonesia.
ANDAMAN & NICOBAR The tiny islands lost almost the same number of people to the disaster as mainland India, with whole villages being wiped off the map.
Car Nicobar was the worst hit with the island's entire air force base washed away by the waves, killing23men and their families.
Rescue teams have yet to reach neighbouring Nancowrie Island. Powerful aftershocks are still rattling the area.
Car Nicobar has a population of around 19,000 and Nancowrie nearly 18,000.
SRI LANKA More than half of the victims of the tsunami came from Sri Lanka alone.
Waves as high as 18ft ripped across the east coast of the island, leaving up to 13,000 dead.
The figure is expected to rise further as the waters recede.
At least 72 foreign tourists were among the dead and one million people have been displaced by the flooding.
Teacher Pam Wall, 31, from Reading, Berkshire, told of her terror as the wave struck her hotel on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka.
She said: 'We thought everything was fine, then one of the waiters yelled, 'This is The Day After Tomorrow', referring to the disaster film.'
Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, said: 'The scale of the tragedy is massive.
'Sri Lanka has never been hit by tidal waves or earthquakes or anything at all in its known history so this is a grave tragedy which we have not been prepared for. We need a lot of assistance.'
More than 25,000 soldiers were sent to deliver aid.
They also cracked down on looters, who conned residents into leaving their homes by telling them new tidal waves were advancing.
INDONESIAMore than 5000 people died, many of them torn from their homes or the streets as the torrent of water surged through.
The earthquake's epicentre was just 100 km off the coast of the island of Sumatra.Reports from the capital Aceh, told of bodies found in treetops. …