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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 00:08 GMT
Powell looks to tsunami long haul
Sri Lankan man breaks up rubble at his ruined house
The tsunami caused huge damage as well as loss of life
The outgoing US secretary of state has said he will tell President Bush that America should provide long-term aid to the Indian Ocean after the tsunami.

Colin Powell said US money should be spent not just on immediate relief but on economic assistance.

The US Navy is ferrying aid to remote areas of Indonesia and Sri Lanka and Washington has pledged $350m in aid.

Millions are still homeless after the 26 December quake which killed at least 150,000 from Sumatra to Somalia.

Mr Powell is due to meet George W Bush in Washington on Monday, having completed a foreign diplomatic tour which took him to the disaster zone last week.

'Other missions'

Speaking to US television networks, he said that Washington had to think about the region's longer-term needs.

"The ships can't stay on station forever because there are other requirements and missions," he said.

"This is a long-term prospect, that we use our money not just for immediate humanitarian relief, but for economic assistance, for infrastructure development."

America's aid contribution could also rise, he added, saying: "If $350m isn't enough, I'm sure the president will try to get more into this account."

Colin Powell is expected to step down later this month, having served in Mr Bush's first term in office, and will be replaced by Condoleezza Rice.

In other developments:

  • UN Secretary General Kofi Annan completes a tour of the disaster region by visiting the Maldives

  • The UN's World Food Programme expects food aid to reach almost all survivors within the next week

  • Sri Lanka predicts foreign tourists will return within three to four months.

Overland aid

Preparations are under way in Indonesia for sending the first major overland aid convoy to Aceh as airports struggle to cope with supplies.

Tsunami survivor wades through water in Banda Aceh, Indonesia
The province of Aceh bore the brunt of the tidal waves
The convoy of 11 International Organisation for Migration lorries setting out from Jakarta will be carrying enough used clothes, medicines and shelter equipment to fill four Hercules aircraft.

After crossing the island of Java by ferry to the southernmost post of Sumatra, the convoy will have to drive the length of the island - some 2,500km - before reaching its destination.

The organisers hope that by driving in shifts and round the clock they will be able to cover the distance in two days, but it could take twice that time, the BBC's Jonathan Kent reports.

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