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Gunfire Shakes Up Relief Effort

Suspected rebels fired shots early Sunday at the home of a top police official near the United Nations' relief headquarters in the tsunami-ravaged Indonesian city of Banda Aceh, officials said. No casualties were reported.

Indonesia's military has stepped up patrols for separatist rebels in tsunami-hit northern Sumatra, after isolated skirmishes in recent days signaled the end of an unofficial truce and raised fears the conflict could endanger the international disaster relief effort.

Officials from the United States and Australia, which both have unarmed military teams helping the massive aid effort, on Saturday said they had assessed potential threats and were satisfied that Indonesian forces were providing adequate security.

Members of the Free Aceh Movement, which has been fighting for an independent homeland in the province of Aceh for more than 20 years, fired early Sunday at officers guarding the home of the deputy provincial police chief, about 100 yards from the U.N. building, police Sgt. Bambang Hariyanpo said.

Police returned fire but the rebels vanished into the city, he said, adding authorities were investigating the incident. It was not known how many rebels were involved.

Police and U.N. officials said the relief headquarters was not the target of the shooting, but the attack underscored concerns about security during the relief effort in Aceh, which was devastated by the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami.

A truckload of soldiers arrived outside the building shortly after the automatic gunfire was heard, a U.N. staffer said on condition of anonymity.

The Free Aceh rebels have been fighting a low-level war against Indonesian troops for an independent homeland in Aceh for more than two decades. They declared a unilateral cease-fire and the military said it would not target suspected rebels during the emergency, but clashes have broken out in recent days.

Rescue workers pulled thousands more rotting corpses from the mud and debris of flattened towns along the Sumatran coast Saturday, two weeks after surging walls of water caused unprecedented destruction on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The death toll in 11 countries passed 150,000, as Indonesian authorities increased their tally by nearly 3,000 while adding tens of thousands to their number of homeless.

The increase in number of dead came even as authorities held out little hope for the tens of thousands still missing. Officials in Sri Lanka and Thailand, which were also hard-hit by the killer waves, say thousands were unlikely to be found alive.

Hungry people with haunted expressions were still emerging from isolated villages on Sumatra island.

Staggered by the scale of the disaster, aid officials announced plans to feed as many as 2 million survivors each day for the next six months, focusing particularly on young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

World Food Program Executive Director James Morris said at a Jakarta news conference that the operation likely would cost $180 million.

"Many of the places where we work are remote, detached and their infrastructure has been dramatically compromised," Morris said, a day after he visited Aceh with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "We will be distributing trucks, by barges, by ships, by helicopters, by big planes."

He said the agency has now dispatched enough food in Sri Lanka to help feed 750,000 people there for 15 days.

Jeff Taft-Dick, WFP country director in Sri Lanka, said that was a critical milestone "because there is now enough food around the country to feed everyone who needs it."

Morris said the agency was feeding 150,000 people in Indonesia and expected that to increase to 400,000 within a week and possibly reach as high as a million eventually.

As two Indonesian navy amphibious vessels zoomed ashore in Calang, hundreds of refugees lined up amid the wreckage of boats to unload supplies. Eighty percent of Calang residents were killed in the giant waves. The Indonesian military set up two field hospitals, one with 50 beds, the other with 20.

"The tragedy was terrible, but considering this, the survivors here now are in pretty good shape," said Dr. Steve Wignall, an American who works for Family Health International and was making an assessment with several other aid workers.

In other areas, victims were more vulnerable, though in a rare positive note, the World Health Organization said no major disease outbreaks have been reported in the crowded camps where millions have sought refuge after losing everything.

"It is normal after a catastrophe like this nature to have some disease, but they are under control," WHO Director-General Dr. Lee Jong-wook said in Sri Lanka. The U.N. agency has warned that disease could put as many as 150,000 survivors "at extreme risk" — which would double the disaster's toll.

President Bush, in his weekly radio address, said the United States was "rushing food, medicine, and other vital supplies to the region. We are focusing efforts on helping the women and children who need special attention, including protection from the evil of human trafficking."

Indonesia, which has a reputation as a base for child trafficking gangs, said Saturday it was monitoring its borders to prevent such smuggling.

CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts, in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, says there's

in the quake/tsunami zone: gratitude for all the relief supplies pouring in from around the world. The U.S. military is now delivering 62 tons of aid every day, to villages and remote places unreachable just a few days ago.

"'Every day, the helicopters are finding the people quicker and quicker. Every day, we are getting better at this," says Lt. Comm. John Bernard.

About 13,000 U.S. servicemen are now in Indonesia and surrounding seas, along with 10 ships and more on the way, the U.S. Navy said Saturday. The U.S. military says it is incurring $5.6 million a day in operating costs.

The Washington Post says in its Saturday editions that U.S. charities report they've raised $337 millioin so far for tsunami and quake relief efforts. The newspaper says some are calling that "the greatest outpouring of donations for a foreign disaster in American history."

Problems persisted in coordinating the humanitarian efforts. Aid groups complained that dignitaries visiting to look at the devastation have choked the tiny main airport in Banda Aceh and hampered distribution of relief supplies. The airport was temporarily shut for the visits of Annan and Secretary of State Colin Powell, for example.

"It slows things down," said Maj. Murad Khan, a spokesman for Pakistan's Tsunami Relief Task Force.

U.S. officials disputed the allegation, saying Powell's plane took off immediately after dropping him off Wednesday so it would not be in the way. He toured the area by helicopter, and Tim Gerhardson, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, said aid shipments continued to flow during that time.

A delegation of U.S. congressmen traveled to Banda Aceh later Saturday. They came by helicopter from the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier so they would not disrupt other flights.

Annan toured a Sri Lankan town where hundreds of shoppers at an outdoor market were swept to their deaths. He reluctantly agreed to a government request to bypass stricken areas controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels.

The Tigers, who have fought a 20-year war for Tamil independence from the Sinhalese-dominated south, invited Annan to tour the northern province. But government officials said they could not guarantee Annan's safety.

"I'm concerned about everyone with need in the humanitarian situation," Annan said. "But I'm also a guest of the government, and we'll go where we agreed we'll go."

With volunteers and rescue workers reaching more remote areas, still more dead were found. Indonesian authorities raised their death toll estimate by nearly 3,000 to more than 100,000 and braced for tens of thousands more homeless than at first expected.

Sri Lanka, by contrast, closed scores of refugee camps as people began drifting back to their damaged homes. With 38 more confirmed deaths, the nation's death toll stood at 30,718.

World governments, led by Australia and Germany, have pledged nearly $4 billion in aid — the biggest relief package ever. The United States has pledged $350 million, which Mr. Bush called only an "initial commitment" and essentially a line of credit that can be spent as American relief officials identify needs.

The World Bank said it will consider significantly boosting its aid, perhaps to as much as $1.5 billion. It has already pledged $175 million in assistance to the 11 countries in Asia and Africa hit by the Dec. 26 disaster, but bank President James Wolfensohn said he was flexible on the amount.

"We can go up to even $1 billion to $1.5 billion, depending on the needs ... our immediate focus is to provide relief to the affected people," he told a news conference at the end of a one-day visit to Sri Lanka.

The tsunami battered Sri Lanka's southern and eastern coastlines, causing heavy damage to houses, hotels and commercial buildings and devastating the country's fishing industry.

The Sri Lankan government estimates it will need between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion to rebuild.

Survivors in Indonesia struggled to put their lives back together, some straggling across debris-strewn miles of countryside to reach larger towns — only to find those regional centers also flattened.

The relief effort is building quickly in Calang, 55 miles southeast of Banda Aceh, where the 1,000 survivors have been joined by 6,000 refugees even though only foundations of homes remain.

At the bustling market in the Lambaro section, women haggled over costs of chilies, bananas, chickens and goats. Barbers set up shop and old men sipped coffee at outdoor cafes.

But business was bad for fish traders, since many buyers were queasy because of the bodies washed out to sea.

"Business is down 50 percent," said one seller, wiping the flies off five fat tunas. "People fear the fish are feeding on the human remains."

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