It was a precision operation where every moment counted as Indonesian soldiers rushed survival rations to waiting American helicopters on Monday during 14 flights to villages along the Sumatran coast that were wiped out by the tsunami.
But the U.S. Navy Seahawks didn’t return empty. They carried back injured who had waited more than a week for medical attention.
In Sri Lanka, the first wave of U.S. Marines landed and quickly began to unload their helicopters for duty there.
In Thailand, it was Alaska firefighters who brought their expertise in search and rescue.
Four Indonesian fishermen were rescued Monday, floating off India's remote Andaman Islands. Even so, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand said they were calling off any more search efforts — doubting anyone else could be found alive eight days after the devastating tsunami.
Everyone was thought to be dead in the remote Indonesian village of Baro, but Monday, when the Indonesian Army finally arrived, they found a few survivors — mostly children, and almost all orphans. The children said their parents had died while catching fish during the tsunami.
"All we have to eat is a bowl of rice a day," said one mother, one of the few parents to survive. "I give my food to my children, they're the priority."
Here in Sri Lanka aid is beginning to arrive in the hands of those who need it most, but the United Nations says it could take up to two weeks to reach all the survivors in the region. That's because there’s so much damage over more than 1,000 miles of coastline. Now elephants are being pressed into service to clear away the rubble.