Death Toll Rising in Southeast Asia

12-26-04- Southeast Asia's white, sandy beaches are now the scene of what some residents are calling a "nightmare." Authorities now say more than eleven-thousand people have been killed after the most powerful earthquake reported in 40 years triggered huge tidal waves.

The eight-point-nine magnitude quake was centered off the west
coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, but the impact was felt
thousands of miles away.

The waves destroyed villages and seaside resorts in popular vacation spots such as Thailand, where many Europeans were spending

Tourists, cars and homes were swept away by walls of water.
Some witnesses say the water began rising slowly at first -- before suddenly swelling.

President Bush is expressing condolences to the victims of today's tidal waves in Asia that were triggered by an earthquake.

Deputy presidential press secretary Trent Duffy said in a statement issued on Air Force One that "The United States stands ready to offer all appropriate assistance."

He said Bush noted the "terrible loss of life."

The statement also says US relief efforts are already under way
in Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands, a string of coral atolls off the southwestern coast of India.