It was , the day after Christmas , and thousands of European and American tourists had flocked to the beaches of Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia to escape the winter chill in a tropical paradise. At AM, a 9. The Boxing Day tsunami would be the deadliest in recorded history, taking a staggering , lives in a matter of hours. Buildings folded like houses of cards, trees and cars were swept up in the oil-black rapids and virtually no one caught in the deluge survived. Thailand was next.
Rescue workers had yet to reach some areas thought to have been affected, and it was feared that the toll could still rise. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the Indonesian disaster agency, said people were confirmed dead in the city of Palu, where preparations for a beach festival had been underway when the tsunami hit Friday evening, on the heels of a 7. Sutopo said people were injured and 29 were still missing. But those figures applied to Palu alone, and there were other vulnerable coastal areas where communications were down. Officials had been unable to make contact with Donggala, a fishing community near Palu that was also reported to have been hit by the tsunami. Komang Adi Sujendra , the director of Undata Hospital in Palu, said in a video message posted online Saturday morning that the area had no electricity, that phone and internet service had been disrupted and that road access was limited. The buildings then disappear beneath the water.
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