BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – Two weeks after a tsunami slammed into coastlines around the Indian Ocean, thousands of bodies were still being pulled out of the mud and world leaders visiting the region were shocked at the devastation.
In Sri Lanka on Saturday, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan (search) toured a town where hundreds of shoppers at an outdoor market were swept to their deaths when the massive waves hit on Dec. 26.
"I have never seen such utter destruction mile after mile," Annan somberly told reporters after a helicopter flight the previous day over the western coast of Indonesia's Sumatra (search) island. "You wonder where are the people? What has happened to them?"
Indonesia said searchers found 7,118 more bodies in the shattered coastal town of Meulaboh, where families picked through piles of rubble. Indian officials raised that country's toll by 310, most of them killed in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, where 5,600 were missing and presumed dead.
These increases raised the death toll across Asia and Africa from the disaster to 147,000. Britain's Foreign Minister Jack Straw (search), visiting the Thai resort island of Phuket, said the number of British tourists killed will likely more than double to 440.
As the death toll soared, so too did the lists of missing. Sri Lanka, with more than 30,000 known dead, added 528 names to its ranks of missing, for a total of 4,984. Indonesia, the worst hit country, estimates 101,318 dead and 10,070 missing.
Officials said some people trying to find loved ones were only now reporting them as missing. "First the people tried to find them among the dead, then went around the hospitals. Now they are coming to us," said K.G. Wijesiri at Sri Lanka's National Disaster Management Center.
International health officials were on guard against disease outbreaks among the millions living in crowded camps, their homes lost.
"It is normal after a catastrophe like this nature to have some disease, but they are under control," WHO Director-General Dr. Lee Jong-wook (search) said Saturday in Sri Lanka.
The U.N. agency has warned that disease could put as many as 150,000 survivors "at extreme risk" — doubling the disaster's toll.
"The scale and magnitude of this disaster makes it literally unique and ... bodies are still being washed up and unearthed," Straw told reporters while touring stricken areas in Thailand. "The scale of the effort still required is truly daunting."
Governments, led by Australia and Germany, have pledged nearly $4 billion in aid — the biggest ever relief package.
The world's richest nations have also agreed that debt repayments for tsunami-devastated countries should be frozen, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said. The seven leading industrial nations, or G-7 (search), will seek agreement from all creditors at the next meeting of the Paris Club on Wednesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) toured stricken areas in Sri Lanka and promised long-term American help to rebuild.
"Only by seeing it on the ground can you really appreciate what it must have been like on that terrible day," he said.
One after another, communities well-rooted for generations were obliterated in moments in Sumatra. Most substantial structures were reduced to bleached concrete pads. From the air, nothing was visible of flimsier village houses except for scattered corrugated iron roofs crumpled like paper.
Pilots and crewmen returning to the USS Abraham Lincoln after seven hours of nonstop flying struggled to find words to describe the scale of the devastation.
"You can't really explain. There used to be towns and cities there. All the people once had homes, lives," said Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Wickland, of Cumberland, Wisconsin. "Now there is nothing."
Those who survived struggled to remake their lives. Rizal Shahputra of Indonesia, who drifted for eight days on high seas before being rescued and taken to Malaysia, will be allowed to remain in the wealthier country after the tragedy left him with nothing in his hometown.
"He is most welcome to start anew and work here," Malaysia's Home Minister Azmi Khalid told the New Straits Times newspaper. But there was no need for Malaysia to offer jobs to other Indonesians displaced by the tsunami, he said. Thousands of Indonesians already work in Malaysia's plantation and construction industries.