UN secretary-general &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2002/06/27/31302.html ' target=_blank>Kofi Annan on Friday described the devastation on Indonesia's tsunami-battered Sumatra island as the worst he's ever seen, while authorities there pulled 7,118 new bodies from the rubble bringing Indonesia's confirmed death toll to over 100,000 and the overall figure to over 150,000.
Twelve days after the tsunami hit, Annan and &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/comp/2003/04/10/45930.html ' target=_blank>World Bank president James Wolfensohn flew over the island's west coast in a Singaporean helicopter and later drove around the shattered coastal town of Meulaboh, where families picked through piles of rubble two meters (six feet) high.
"I have never seen such utter destruction mile after mile," a shaken Annan said. "You wonder where are the people? What has happened to them?", wrote the Times of India.
U.S. Secretary of State &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/21/25886.html ' target=_blank>Colin Powell also expressed shock on Friday at the scale of the disaster as he toured another devastated Indian Ocean country, Sri Lanka.
A day after a crisis aid summit in Jakarta, Powell toured Sri Lanka's south, where the giant waves that crashed ashore on December 26 killed more than 30,000 and reduced coastal towns to piles of rubble.
"The destruction that we saw was significant," he said as he wrapped up his lightning visit. "It was more than just walls that have been knocked down or buildings that have been crushed, but lives that were crushed and snuffed out", informs Reuters.
According to the ABC News, people flying over Sumatra have reported a veritable skeleton coast, with bodies still floating at sea. Bleached concrete pads are all that is left of substantial structures, scattered corrugated iron roofs crumpled like paper the only evidence of flimsier houses. A few intact mosques rise eerily from wasteland. U.S. Navy pilots and crewmen returning to the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln after seven hours of nonstop flying struggled to find words to describe the devastation. "You can't really explain. There used to be towns and cities there. All the people once had homes, lives," said Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Wickland of Cumberland, Wis. "Now there is nothing."
Twenty years later, the cause of death of 118 Kursk submariners remains a mystery. the Russian navy was unable to save the dying men.