The death toll stands at 44,000. (Update: Over 63,000 dead.)
My family was once watching a disaster show on the TV. We saw hurricanes and tornadoes and the incredible damage that was caused; this was a show about the United States. My mom said that this was Allah's way of punishing the infidels. At the time, I was surprised by that remark because the death toll by these disasters, in the United States, was minimal. The heat wave kills hundreds of people in Pakistan every year. The monsoon washes away houses with livestock and unlucky people. Earthquakes kill tens of thousands of people in countries like Iran, Pakistan, and India. I wondered what Allah was punishing these Muslims for because similar earthquakes in the U.S. kill a few folks.
Lack of freedom, wealth, warning systems, and high population densities are the main reasons why we see such tremendous suffering in Asia and Africa when disasters strike. When I see disasters in the West, I marvel at the colossal material carnage they cause. When I see disasters in 3rd world countries, I am shocked by the inconceivable amount of death and suffering.
Update: The cause of the tsunami: greed and stupidity. And oh, animals are smarter than us. These people get paid to write this nonsense.