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Death Toll Reaches 100,000 in Indonesia's Tsunami-Devastated Aceh

The Indonesian government confirmed more than 100-thousand bodies have been recovered from the towns and villages torn apart by last month's earthquake and tsunami in its Aceh Province. But another 130,000 people still remain missing. More aid is now reaching the survivors and assistance is starting to flow from a recently arrived Japanese contingent.

More than four weeks after the disaster, recovery teams are still pulling hundreds of bodies a day from the wreckage in the northern Indonesian province of Aceh.

The government says the number of bodies recovered and buried in mass graves has now passed the grim milestone of 100,000. And more than 130,000 people remain missing. Many Indonesians were dragged out to sea by the receding wall of water, and their bodies will probably never be found.

The aid organization 'Save the Children' says almost half the dead were children: too small to climb to safety and not strong enough to swim, they had little chance. Eileen Burke is the spokeswoman for Save the Children in Banda Aceh - close to the epicenter of the disaster - and she says the disparity is clear in the camps.

"We have now registered 76 cases of children trying to find their parents but we've registered 250 parents who are seeking their children," she said. "When you look at the list of the children they are trying to find, a lot of them are one month old, three months old, one year olds and we know that those children were the weakest and couldn't swim and probably were highly likely to be some of the victims from this tragedy."

Although the search for the dead continues, most efforts are concentrating on providing assistance to an estimated 400,000 people who lost their homes in the disaster. The aid effort is now moving beyond immediate life-saving help to longer-term support.

Thursday, a Japanese military task force brought ashore a water purification plant, the first installment of what will be Tokyo's biggest overseas relief effort ever. Japan is concentrating on the medical aid, including disease prevention, but has also provided a number of heavy-lift helicopters to transport supplies to the many villages that are still unreachable by road.