A U.S. military cargo plane has landed in Sri Lanka with the first contingent of what will be 1,500 Marines and 20 helicopters sent to help tsunami victims. The rest of the Marines and helicopters are due to reach the island nation later this week on a small aircraft carrier bringing emergency supplies.
The U.S. Marines are to ferry medical supplies, water purification equipment and other essentials to coastal villages devastated by the disaster. Meanwhile, the death toll in Sri Lanka has reached more than 30,000. Health officials are bracing for outbreaks of contagious diseases as hundreds of thousands of displaced people live in unsanitary conditions and lack clean drinking water.