Aid Pledges to Asia Double With the New Year

( [email protected] ) Jan 04, 2005 03:05 PM EST

The U.S. has increased its pledge in aid to $2 billion for the tsunami-struck people of Asia where the death toll, currently at 140,000, is expected to exceed 150,000.

Worldwide aid has doubled with the new year as wealthy countries such as Japan and the U.S. made larger pledges. The United Nations, however, said the large contributions would take days to reach the survivors from the earthquake.

Along with tens of thousands of bodies still missing, recovery may take five to 10 years and cost billions of dollars, said U.N. officials.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said on NBC's "Meet the Press," the U.S. has "scaled up" its response "as the scope of the disaster scaled up."

The U.S. military has been delivering food, supplies and equipment in relief efforts aboard Navy and U.S. ships and aircraft.

"On the question of fundraising, I think that things are looking up.," said United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. "We are doing very well for the moment. But as I said, we are in it for the long term; and I will urge governments not only to contribute for the moment, but be prepared to continue the effort over the longer term."

"The need is great," stated Powell, "and not just for immediate relief but for long-term reconstruction, rehabilitation, family support, economic support that's going to be needed for these countries to get back up on their feet."