"At the airport in Bangkok, other governments had set up booths to greet nationals who had been affected and to help repatriate them, she said.
That was not the case with the U.S. government, Wachs told her mother. It took the couple three hours, she said, to find the officials from the American consulate, who were in the VIP lounge.
Because they had lost all their possessions, including their documentation, they had to have new passports issued.
But the U.S. officials demanded payment to take the passport pictures, Helen Wachs said.
The couple had managed to hold on to their ATM card, so they paid for the photos and helped other Americans who did not have any money get their pictures taken and buy food, Helen Wachs said."
"The dramatic rise of the death toll came after officials were finally able to reach remote regions -- like Indonesia's Aceh province, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Maldives.
More than half of the total deaths so far were in Indonesia, the nearest land mass to Sunday's undersea earthquake that triggered the deadly waves and flooding in about a dozen countries, from Thailand to East Africa.
The United Nations' Jan Egeland said one in every four people in some parts of Aceh had been killed. "