Millions visit website listing missing Germans
4 January 2005
DUISBURG – Millions of users have called up a private German website that for the past four days has been broadcasting the names of people killed, missing or surviving after the Asian tsunami, the site owner, Dagmar Sall-May, said.
The German government is not making any of its lists public. Sall-May’s site, www.fluthilfe-deutschland.de, is compiled from hospital casualty lists in the disaster region as well as information volunteered by site visitors.
“We’ve served 148 million pages of information in just a few days,” she said in the western city of Duisburg.
Each visitor called up multiple pages. Most of the “missing” reports include coloured photos provided by relatives.
A similar, smaller private German site, www.asienfluthilfe.de, said it was handling 11,400 unique visitors a day.
Opinions in Europe have been sharply divided about what is more important: the public’s need to know or traditions of privacy. In Germany, accident victims are mostly not identified by name in the media unless they are celebrities or newsworthy survivors.
In Britain, the names of many of the missing have been published on the website of broadcaster BBC.
Unlike its Nordic neighbours, Sweden said it would not publish lists of missing Swedish nationals on the Internet, citing reports that homes of Swedes reported missing had been burgled. It also argued that the lists were too imperfect to publish.
Subject: German news