Quake-Tsunami Death Toll Tops 175,000

South Asia's quake-tsunami death toll soared past 175,000 Monday as Sri Lanka confirmed thousands more dead.

According to Reuters, Sri Lankan officials said another 7,275 people were now known to have died in the Dec. 26 catastrophe, taking the national total to 38,195. However, sources say the jump was not due to the sudden discovery of more bodies, but rather a backlog of figures from remote areas.

Meanwhile in Indonesia’s Aceh province, where U.S. and other foreign troops have joined relief teams clearing rubble from the Dec. 26 disaster that killed 115,000 in that province alone, aid officials said the province was rebounding so well from the disaster that emergency assistance could wind up fairly quickly.

"I think we are fortunate that things are not as bad as we feared," said Patrick Webb, chief of nutrition at the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP).

"Malnutrition is not widespread. Diseases are not rampant yet," added Webb, according to Reuters.

"They are fortunate that there has been this massive response, which will make recovering a lot faster than it ever has got a chance of in Darfur for example, or Afghanistan."

In Aceh’s provincial capital of Banda Aceh, monsoon rains reportedly flooded tsunami-scarred streets as overloaded drainage ditches ceased working. Meanwhile half of the city that took the worst damage from the wave remains largely closed.

And in India, where the death toll in the last month's catastrophe rose to 10,744 on Monday, hundreds of semi-permanent houses are being constructed for those whose houses were washed away by tidal waves. The Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR), a Delhi-based Christian relief and rehabilitation agency, reports that it is in the process of building 173 semi-permanent houses on India’s Thittu Island and 155 semi permanent houses in the Mlukuthurai region. As of now, in India’s Cuddalore district a total of 328 houses will be built. In Kanyakumari at the Southern Tip of the Indian Subcontinent, the government had asked EFICOR to construct 215 temporary shelters in the East and West Manamekudi regions.