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Drops Of Hope In Sea Of Misery

Over a week after deadly waves killed an estimated 150,000 people along the coasts of the Indian Ocean, a trickle of survivors are being found among the tens of thousands of missing.

Four Indonesian fishermen were found alive on a boat that had drifted north to a remote Indian Ocean island, the Indian coast guard said Monday.

The men were rescued by the coast guard on Saturday off Campbell Bay, said Anil K. Pokhariyal, commander of the coast guard ship. They were brought to a jetty at Port Blair, capital of the Indian archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar islands, on Monday.

The men were already stranded before the tsunami hit, as their engine had broken down, Pokhariyal told The Associated Press. He said they had been adrift for nine days before a reconnaissance helicopter spotted them on New Year's Day.

"They were on a wooden dinghy," he said. "They waved to us and gestured in sign language, asking for food." He aid the men had tied a cloth to a post, in an effort to make a sail.

Pokhariyal said the four men were in shock, gesturing to communicate, as they could speak little English or Hindi.

One of them, who identified himself as Jasmi, said he had learned a few words in Hindi from his nieces who lived in New Delhi, India's capital.

He tried to explain, in broken Hindi and gestures, that the boat had broken down and they had no fish or water. He said they came from Sabang Banache in Sumatra.

A Malaysian tuna ship rescued an Indonesian woman who drifted for five days in the Indian Ocean after last week's tsunami swept her out to sea from her home on Sumatra island, an official said Monday.

Melawati, 23, was spotted alive Friday while clinging to an uprooted sago palm tree in waters near Aceh province, said Goi Kim Par, manager of the Malaysian International Tuna Port. Melawati uses only one name.

She suffered leg injuries and was extremely weak, but remained conscious and arrived for medical treatment Monday afternoon at Malaysia's northwestern Penang island, Goi added.

It was not immediately clear when or how she would return to Aceh, he said.

Late Sunday, an Indonesian fisherman was found trapped under his boat and severely dehydrated, officials said. The 24-year-old man, identified as Tengku Sofyan, was rushed to a hospital in Banda Aceh, where doctors gave him intravenous fluids. He could barely speak and had cuts on his body, doctors said.

"He's in extremely fragile condition, especially mentally," said Dr. Irwan Azwar, who treated the man.

Witnesses said Sofyan was at sea when the tsunami hit. His boat was tossed onto the beach at Lampulo and he was trapped for a week and
couldn't eat or drink anything, they said.

Unless there is another miracle, the Indonesian government says that Sofyan will probably be the last survivor found in the country, reports CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan.

In Khao Lak, Thailand, rescue workers were frantically trying Monday to save two dolphins trapped in a small lagoon created when tsunami waves swept them ashore eight days earlier.

With the search for survivors on Thailand's devastated southwestern coast basically turning into recovery of bodies, the discovery of the two dolphins energized workers.

"That's why we hope we get them out. That would be the only survivor story. We need one," said Edwin Wiek, a Dutchman who is director of the Wildlife Friends of Thailand Rescue Center.

Some have not given up hope for a miracle. In Sri Lanka, parents who lost their children to the tsunami come at dawn and wander the beach in the devastated districts of Ampara and Batticaloa, day after day.

"They believe their kids are alive and the sea will return them one day," UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy said on Sunday, after touring this island country's tsunami-devastated shore.

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