COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) took a firsthand look at tsunami damage in Sri Lanka (search) Friday, flying over smashed beach resorts and swimming pools strewn with sand.
Powell was finishing a three-nation tour of countries hit hard by the Dec. 26 tsunami (search). He said Thursday he will recommend that the United States send more helicopters for the relief effort, but doubts Washington will pledge more financial aid immediately.
In Sri Lanka, an island nation where an estimated 30,000 people died and another 800,000 were displaced, Powell took a helicopter tour of battered Galle, on the southern coast.
"I had a chance to witness the destruction firsthand and only by seeing it on the ground can you really appreciate what it must have been like on that terrible day. But I am impressed to see people cleaning up, helping their neighbors, starting to clean up shops and homes," Powell said after surveying the damage.
Powell landed in Galle at a 17th century fort near a pile of debris from which bodies were still being pulled this week.
He represented the United States at an international conference in Indonesia on Thursday to coordinate relief and aid.
Afterward, he said he would recommend to U.S. President George W. Bush that the United States send more military helicopters, scores of which are ferrying supplies in Indonesia and elsewhere.
After touring the tsunami damage, Powell was to fly to Nairobi, Kenya, for the weekend signing of a peace accord ending two decades of fighting in southern Sudan.