Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he would investigate what role his country could play in setting up an Indian Ocean warning system. The head of the British Commonwealth bloc of Britain and its former colonies called for talks on creating a global early warning system for tsunamis.
Egeland said the issue of creating a tsunami warning system would be taken up at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan from Jan. 18-22.
For most people around the shores across the region, the only warning Sunday of the disaster came when shallow coastal waters disappeared, sucked away by the approaching tsunami, before returning as a massive wall of water. The waves wiped out villages, lifted cars and boats, yanked children from the arms of parents and swept away beachgoers, scuba divers and fishermen.
In a scene repeated across the region Monday, relatives wandered hallways lined with bodies, searching for loved ones at the hospital in Sri Lanka's southern town of Galle one of the worst-affected areas of the hardest-hit nation. People lifted blankets and soaked clothes to look at faces in a stunned hush, broken only occasionally by wails of mourning.
A tractor brought in about 15 corpses of mostly women and children, some wrapped in white plastic sheets, while a Buddhist temple across the street tried to help people find their missing.
"The toll is increasing," said Brig. Daya Ratnayake, a military spokesman. "We are finding more bodies."
Indonesia and Sri Lanka had at least a million people each driven from their homes. Helicopters in India rushed medicine to stricken areas, while warships in Thailand steamed to island resorts to rescue survivors.
In Banda Aceh, capital of Aceh province at the northern tip of Sumatra, the streets were filled with overturned cars and the rotting corpses of adults and children. Shopping malls and office buildings lay in rubble, and thousands of homeless families huddled together in mosques and schools. The minaret of the city's 125-year-old mosque leaned precariously.
At least 3,000 people died in the city of 400,000, which was virtually unique in the region in that Banda Aceh was destroyed by the temblor rather than the floodwaters. Officials said Indonesia's death toll could double to 10,000 when the full devastation in Aceh province becomes known.
In Thailand, the government offered free flights for thousands of Western tourists desperate to leave the southern resorts ravaged by the tsunami. Chaos erupted at Phuket airport as hundreds of tourists, many bandaged and brought to the airport in ambulances, tried to board planes for Bangkok.
Bodies were pulled from roadsides, orchards and beaches at Khao Lak resort, where the Swedish tour operator Fritidsresor said 600 Swedes had not been accounted for.
Jimmy Gorman, 30, of Manchester, England, said he saw 15 bodies, including up to five children and a pregnant woman, on Phi Phi island, one of Thailand's most popular destinations for Westerners,
"Disaster. Flattened everything," Gorman said. "There's nothing left of it."
The United States dispatched disaster teams and prepared a $15 million aid package to the Asian countries, and the 25-nation European Union promised to quickly deliver $4 million. Japan, China and Russia were sending teams of experts.Egeland said he expected hundreds of relief airplanes from two dozen countries within the next 48 hours.
Contributing: Josh Loftin, Deseret Morning News
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