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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 December, 2004, 14:51 GMT
Europeans high on missing lists
Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds (right) greets tourists
Laila Freivalds (right) fears more Swedes will be among the dead
Hundreds of tourists from northern Europe and Scandinavia are among the missing and dead following the Indian Ocean sea surges, say Thai officials.

Around half of the 4,100 listed as missing by the Thai government are reported to be foreign tourists who had been holidaying at beach resorts.

Twenty six Germans and 26 Britons were confirmed dead by their governments but more are missing across the region.

Swedish tourists have also been hard hit, with around 1,000 missing.

Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds, who joined an aid plane to Thailand, said she feared many would not be found.

About 20,000 Swedes are thought to have been on holiday or travelling in the regions affected by the waves on Sunday - many independent of any tour operator.

Ms Freivalds said that for Sweden the disaster was comparable to the 1994 sinking of the Estonia car ferry, which left 137 survivors from 989 on board.

You won't find many people in Sweden who don't have some personal link to this tragedy
Laila Freivalds,
Swedish Foreign Minister
"You won't find many people in Sweden who don't have some personal link to this tragedy," she said.

The Swedish government has still only confirmed six dead.

Thai authorities said 473 foreigners from 36 nations were confirmed dead from Thailand's southern resorts alone.

The Khao Lak resort north of the island of Phuket, was one of the worst hit. Several luxury hotels, which were full for the Christmas holiday season, are now in ruins.

Little hope

The Sofitel Magic Lagoon in Khao Lak said 360 people - 261 guests and 99 employees - were missing and hopes of finding survivors were fading.

My son is crying for his mother. I think this is her. I recognise her hand, but I'm not sure
Bejkhajorn Saithong, Khao Lak, Thailand

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder confirmed 26 Germans had died and 1,000 were missing across the affected region. He said he feared the number of German casualties would rise to "well into the three-figure range".

UK officials say 26 Britons have been killed, while the Thai authorities say 43 British tourists are dead.

Around 930 Norwegians are believed to have been in Thailand at the time and are still unaccounted for. Norway, which is sending a second aid flight to the region, has confirmed 13 dead.

France has confirmed 20 dead and there were also victims from Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland and Russia.

Correspondents say estimates of the numbers of dead vary and many western governments are maintaining conservative figures until they have firm confirmation of victims.

Rescuers and relief officials continued the grim task of finding and identifying bodies.

Bangkok hospital
Tourists are still trying to trace missing families and friends
Officials complained there were few facilities for keeping the hundreds of dead bodies refrigerated, and many are rotting rapidly, making identification more difficult.

Locals and tourists are inspecting the dead for loved ones, or looking at message boards posted with photos of the dead.

International aid has started arriving in Phuket, with supplies from France, Australia, Norway, Russia and Sweden, among others.

Looting has also been reported in parts of Phuket and Phi Phi.

Thailand's prime minister described the thieves as "despicable".


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People search for their missing loved ones



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