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US Marines to Help Sri Lanka's Tsunami Victims

U.S. military officials say the United States will dispatch up to 1,500 Marines and a ship carrying 20 helicopters to Sri Lanka to help relief efforts in areas devastated by last Sunday's tsunami.

A U.S. spokesman in Colombo said the first contingent of 200 Marines will arrive in Sri Lanka shortly from a base in Okinawa, Japan. He said the Marines will operate from an offshore platform south of the port city of Galle.

Meanwhile, flash floods in eastern Sri Lanka are hampering relief efforts. Local officials say heavy rains forced the evacuation of thousands of people already affected by the tsunami. Aid convoys continue to have difficulty reaching some of the hardest-hit areas.

Nearly one million Sri Lankans have been displaced and are living in temporary camps. The nationwide death toll is approaching 29,000.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.