TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Family, Friends Scan Internet for Tsunami Victims

Family, Friends Scan Internet for Tsunami Victims

Lisa Minter (
Thu, 30 Dec 2004 10:15:53 EST

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Distraught relatives and friends of those
missing after the most catastrophic tsunami on record are increasingly
turning to the Internet to search for loved ones.

In Hong Kong and Singapore to Australia, Britain, the United States
and Sweden, people are scanning through lists of names of victims and
posting bulletins to look for those missing.

"Today I am still searching the hospitals," said James Wong from Hong
Kong, as he looked through names and pictures of victims posted on the
Internet by hospitals in Phuket.

Wong is in Phuket to search for his daughter Rubina Wong, who was on
nearby Phi Phi Island with her fiance when the sea swept over the tiny

"But I still harbour hope. Some people have been found even after
hanging in a tree for a day," Wong told Hong Kong television reporters
on Thursday.

The Thai government has also set up Web sites listing names of victims
to examine (, )

Of the hundreds of bulletins posted on one of these sites, a handful
had good news for some.

"Now we can find the name of Miss Anneli Laitinen from Finland, but
we're not quite sure that she is the same person you are looking
for. I'm happy to inform you that she's still alive but injured," read
a message posted on a page for people looking for loved ones in Krabi
in Thailand.

Visitors to the sites have also posted heart-wrenching messages
looking for their parents, siblings and friends.

Other Web sites collating information and news about the disaster, aid
and volunteer efforts have also sprung up, such as

Aid agencies, such as the Red Cross and Oxfam, have also appealed for
donations, which can be made quickly online at:,

"Since the appeal went out on December 27, we have had responses
online. People can also download forms from the Internet and fax it
back to us. Others have also made donations directly to our accounts
or sent checks," said a spokeswoman for Red Cross in Hong Kong.

It has collected HK $32 million (US $4.1 million) to date,
which it will use to supply food, medicine and sleeping
materials to disaster victims.


Thousands of foreigners had been holidaying southern Thailand when
they went missing after a 9.0 magnitude undersea quake off the
Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The quake triggered tsunamis that slammed into Indonesia, India,
Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and other countries as far away as
Africa, killing more than 90,000 people.

Officially, only 212 foreign tourists have been reported as killed by
their home countries, but Thailand alone has said that at least 435
foreigners had died there.

Some 1,500 Swedes, 1,000 Germans, 600 Italians, 464 Norwegians, 294
Singaporeans, 277 Hong Kong residents, 219 Danes, 200 Finns and 200
Czechs have been reported as missing by their governments.

Valerio Natale, a 14-year-old Italian student, said two missing
Italian holidaymakers -- Dario Collodi and Liliana Giordanino -- have
already been found thanks to postings on his web page

The site is devoted almost entirely to Italian citizens who
disappeared in Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India.

"I was paging through the newspaper and saw lots of ads from people
looking for relatives," Natale told Reuters. "I asked myself, 'Why not
make a free site that can help everybody?' So I made a free site,
which used to be dedicated to the famous American cartoon family, the

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: A hell of a way to end the year, isn't
it? Every time I listen to the radio news at or read the news stories,
the body count keeps going up; now 115 thousand people killed in this
disaster, and no end in sight. On NASA television today members of the
press corps were having a press conference with the two men in the
space station, and asked them, "have the folks back home told you
about the tragedy which happened in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and otehr
parts of Asia over Christmas?" The men said they had been notified
of it, but that their sleeping and orbiting schedule had prevented
them from any first hand knowledge of it. The sanitation workers here
in Independence came around again today for their Thursday pickup and
sweep up day and I was reminded once again of the rules now in place
through that part of the world: 'Stack the bodies by the curb, we will
take them all away as soon as we are able.' God have mercy on all of
us. PAT]

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