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UN Praises Helicopter Food Drops In Tsunami-Wracked Indonesia

The United Nations is praising the use of military helicopters to drop food and rescue survivors in tsunami-ravaged Indonesia, saying the aircraft are "worth their weight in gold."

U.N. relief coordinator Jan Egeland said Sunday, U.S., Indonesian and Australian military helicopters are ferrying out food and supplies to remote areas of western Aceh province that ground crews cannot reach.

Mr. Egeland said the latest figures show 1.8 million people are in need of food assistance - with the need greatest in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India.

He said last week's tsunami and the massive underwater earthquake that triggered it has affected millions in Asia and Africa.

Some 127,000 people are known dead.

Aid is being rushed to the region, but the U.N. official stressed that bottlenecks and a lack of infrastructure remain a challenge.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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