State media reported that China had dispatched an earthquake expert to Sri Lanka to join a United Nations evaluation team working on relief plans while Beijing awaited word from Jakarta ahead of sending a team of 40 experts to join recovery work in ravaged Sumatra. It was there that Sunday's tsunami eruptions claimed most of an estimated 24,000 lives in a multi-nation rampage spreading death and destruction in the Gulf of Thailand and across the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean to East Africa. Media reports said China's State Seismological Bureau was working with the United Nations Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Foreign Ministry separately set up a hotline to help the public track down relatives and friends known to be traveling in affected areas across south Asia. Some experts linked dozens of repeated tremors Sunday in southwest Yunnan province to the tsunami-causing 9.0 earthquake off the northern tip of Sumatra.
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