Aid officials say it could take a generation to rebuild Asian countries hit by last week's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

The head of World Vision Australia, Tim Costello, says the devastation around the Indian Ocean basin recalls the suffering in Europe during and after the Second World War.

Mr. Costello says Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other Asian nations hit by the tsunami need something similar to the Marshall Plan, in which the United States contributed the modern equivalent of $100 billion to spur the postwar recovery of 16 European countries.

The death toll from the December 26 disaster is approaching 150,000 today (Monday), as relief workers reach areas that were cut off from the outside world last week.

U.N. relief coordinator Jan Egeland says 1.8 million people in South Asia and East Africa need emergency food supplies. Military helicopters from the United States, Indonesia, and Australia have been dropping food packages, as well as airlifting people from villages that still cannot be reached by land.

International health officials fear outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and malaria could claim many more lives.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says it could take up to 10 years to rebuild South Asia. He is meeting with other world leaders in Indonesia this week. Their summit talks in Jakarta will concentrate on aid requirements and how best to distribute the $2 billion raised so far.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who will attend the summit on Thursday, is arriving in Bangkok later today. He will visit devastated coastal areas of Thailand and travel to Indonesia's Aceh province, near the center of the cataclysmic earthquake that triggered the tsunami.