In Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, the Health Ministry increased that country's toll by almost 28,000 on Thursday after relief teams began counting bodies in towns along the remote western coast of Sumatra island, the closest land to the epicenter of the quake that spawned the killer waves. The counting was far from complete, said ministry official Kardino, who uses just one name.
Up to five million people lack access to the basic supplies they need to stay alive, the United Nations health agency said Thursday.
Relief organizations warned that diseases could cause more deaths than the deadly waves.
Without clean water, respiratory and waterborne diseases could break out within days, putting millions at "grave risk," the U.N. children's agency said.
"Standing water can be just as deadly as moving water," said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. "The floods have contaminated the water systems, leaving people with little choice but to use unclean surface water."
U.N. emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland said it could take days for aid to reach survivors and that some areas had yet to be reached.
"It will take maybe 48 to 72 hours more to able to respond to the tens of thousands of people who would like to have assistance today, or yesterday," Egeland said.
Governments have pledged $500 million in aid to disaster victims so far, said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Annan said he was "satisfied" with the response of world governments to the quake-tsunami disaster, in response to a question about an earlier comment by Egeland that Western nations are "stingy" in helping developing countries.
"Let me say that in this particular instance the response has been very good," Annan said.
One measure of aid, by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, shows that none of the world's richest countries donated even 1 percent of its gross national income.
The highest, as of April, was Norway, at 0.92 percent; the lowest was the United States, at 0.14 percent.
Using another measure of aid, President Bush noted Wednesday that the United States provided $2.4 billion "in food, in cash, in humanitarian relief to cover the disasters for last year. ... That's 40 percent of all the relief aid given in the world last year."
On India's remote Andaman and Nicobar islands, rescuers followed the stench of death to find rotting bodies in jungles, where as many as 10,000 uncounted bodies are believed to be buried in mud and thick vegetation.
Survivors from the Indian islands told harrowing tales. Many had not eaten for two days and people had to contend with crocodiles that were washed ashore.
Some islanders had walked for days from their destroyed villages to reach a devastated but functioning airfield, where they were shuttled out 80 to 90 at a time.
Because the tsunami washed out the roads along thousands of miles of coastline, the logistics of getting aid out are "absolutely overwhelming," relief worker Cassandra Nelson told CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
In Sri Lanka, where she is located, "The situation is very dire," she said. "People are living in jungles. They're looking for shelter in anything from schools to churches to mosques. Anywhere they can sleep with some coverage and shelter until aid arrives."
Reports of waterborne disease such as diarrhea in Sri Lanka are causing fears of an epidemic.
The survivors are "almost paralyzed" with shock, and unable to bury their neighbors and family members lying dead in the streets, said Nelson.
"Everything here has collapsed," Indonesia's Brig. Gen. Achmad Hiayat said in Banda Aceh. "The hospitals, medical services are in disarray ...(Aid workers) can come, but they need to bring their own cars."
At least 50 tons of aid had arrived into Banda Aceh on Sumatra, the Indonesian island devastated by Sunday's earthquake and the tsunami it spawned. But much of it was piling up at the airport. The difficulty, officials said, was finding vehicles and gasoline to transport it. Many areas are also only reachable by plane or boat.
Paramedics in southern India began vaccinating thousands of survivors against cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and dysentery, and authorities sprayed bleaching powder on beaches where bodies have been recovered.
Sri Lanka reported 22,800 dead, India more than 7,300 and Thailand 1,800 — though that country's prime minister said he feared the toll would go up 5,000 more. A total of more than 300 were killed in Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Somalia, Tanzania and Kenya.
The disaster struck a band of the tropics from Indonesia to India to Somalia that not only is heavily populated but attracts tourists from all corners.
The Indonesian military dropped food aid to survivors but many said the boxes of noodles and other basic foods were missing their mark.
"The instant noodles fell where no one could get them," said David Lines, a surfer from Sydney, Australia who was leaving Banda Aceh after surviving the disaster. "It was like a stupid gesture because nobody could get the food."
Countless corpses, many of them young children, remained strewn around the streets and floating in the rivers of the city, rotting in the tropical sun.
Truck loads of bodies were delivered to freshly-dug, mass graves. Other corpses were swept up into the mountains of debris that clogged the narrow streets.
Soldiers and police guarded abandoned shops in the city's market amid fears of looting. Three alleged looters caught by police were stripped to their underpants and forced to sit on the street as a warning to others.
The province of Aceh has been wracked by a separatist war for the past 26 years. On Monday, Jakarta reversed a longstanding ban in the region on foreign journalists and international aid agency representatives.