Reporter's Notebook: Pictures of Heartbreak

Clothes lie in piles, separated by size and gender. Mounds of water bottles reach the size of a VW Beetle as supplies to help those ravaged by the Dec. 26 tsunami (search) continue to pour into Phuket's town square.

We are now doing our reports from the village of Phuket (search) on the island of the same name, about a half-hour drive from the western coast.

Here in the town square, home to a pair of white municipal buildings, a launching pad of sorts for relief has been set.

You can get food, both cooked and non-perishable; you can get consular information from about 100 countries; you can get psychological counseling and even free plane trips back to Bangkok (search), where most major airlines have a counter.

A continuous stream of pickup trucks back into parking spaces, their beds filled in minutes with non-perishable items, personal items and clothes. Volunteers from all over the globe, many of them tourists, have come here to help in the distribution of relief efforts.

But while we see so many good signs that recovery is on the way, there are sickening reminders of what has taken place in this region of the world.

As I sit at this computer inside one of the buildings, I see fliers in seemingly every possible language. On them are pictures of loved ones who have vanished due to the powerful Indian Ocean waters.

Many of the pictures are of young children, a heartbreaking sight. Some are of entire families, loved ones leaving local numbers, home numbers and Web addresses, hoping by some miracle that their missing son, daughter, husband or wife will be found alive.

Plywood billboards mounted into eight-by-eight sections now line one of the small streets here in the town square. The missing-persons fliers are posted on some, but others display the horrific photos of death.

Hospitals, temporary morgues and even Hindu temples are being used to house thousands of unidentified bodies, and the posters are a reminder of how many people have been lost here.

Officials hope that by posting the pictures, people may identify a friend or family member listed as missing, but known to be dead.

There are still thousands unaccounted for here, and all will never be located. Thankfully, a Web site has also been set up so the searching process and ID process can be centralized and available from anywhere in the world. Some families are sending relatives with DNA samples, and others are hiring detectives, all in the hope the remains of their loved ones will be found.

This tragedy is causing a deep pain for so many.