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'Tsunami illness' has locals afraid

Breaking Earth News
Maximum recession of tsunami waters at Kata Noi Beach, Thailand, before the third, and strongest, tsunami wave (sea visible in the right corner, the beach is at the extreme left), 10:25 a.m. local time.

Almost three years since a tsunami ravaged six coastal provinces in the South, villagers at Ban Nam Khem are still plagued by illnesses they say are connected to the killer waves.

Many villagers became concerned following the deaths of six tsunami survivors within a year of the tragedy.

Another 80 survivors have suffered poor health, respiratory diseases and sudden weight loss, Maitree Jongkraichak, member of Ban Nam Khem tambon organisation, said.

Ban Nam Khem _ a fishing hamlet by abandoned tin mines _ was one of the hardest hit areas in the Dec 2004 tsunami. More than 900 villagers died and many of those who survived swallowed huge amounts of seawater or had their wounds exposed to the water which, according to doctors, was highly-polluted with refuse, sand and mud.

Survivors with access to medical care had mud and sand drained from their lungs. Many had to have their wounds reopened in order for clogged sand to be removed.

2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake
The disaster is known by the scientific community as the Great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, and is also known as the Asian Tsunami and the Boxing Day Tsunami. The tsunami occurred exactly one year after the 2003 Bam earthquake and exactly two years before the 2006 Hengchun earthquake.

Image: Animation of the tsunami caused by the earthquake showing how the tsunami radiated from the entire length of the 1,600 km (994 mi) rupture.

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