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October 30, 2009

Fate of Thousands of Foreign Tourists Remains Unclear after Asian Tsunami

The fate of at least 8,000 foreign tourists vacationing in Southeast Asia remains unknown, more than a week after a tsunami pounded coastlines and beach resorts in the region.

At least 350 deaths have been confirmed as foreigners. But officials say that number will likely rise as the identity of victims is sorted out.

In Thailand alone, officials say nearly half of the 5,000 reported deaths were foreign visitors.

Southern Asia was at the height of its tourist season when the tsunami hit.

Sweden and the United States are reporting the most missing citizens. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says as many as 5,000 Americans are unaccounted for. He adds there is a "distinct possibility" that the U.S. death toll will increase from the 15 confirmed so far.

Swedish officials say nearly 3,000 are still missing.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.