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Oct 2, 2009 12:19 PM by Associated Press

Military searches for bodies, brings aid to Samoas

Samoa's police commissioner says bodies are still being plucked from the sea and dug out of sand, mud and debris, as the death toll from Tuesday's earthquake and tsunami rose to 169 today.

Authorities have confirmed 129 dead in Somoa. Another 31 were killed in the U.S. territory of American Samoa and nine in Tonga.

The U.S., Australia and New Zealand have sent supplies and troops, and a U.S. Navy frigate is bringing two helicopters to aid search-and-rescue efforts.

Some Samoans who fled to the hills when the tsunami tore through their seaside villages are vowing never to return to the coast. An aftershock Wednesday night sent more to higher ground.

Workers at a makeshift emergency supply base have been carting water, food, tarps and clothes to some 3,000 people in the hills. A Red Cross official says drinking water is the most pressing problem.

The governor of American Samoa says President Barack Obama called him yesterday to express condolences to families of those killed.

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