The State Department reported yesterday that 18 U.S. citizens died in the tsunami disaster in December and 15 others are presumed dead.
After sorting through 30,000 initial inquiries from worried relatives, friends and others concerning U.S. citizens, the department said it is likely 33 Americans died in the disaster.
"We will not stop until we know everything we can know," said Adam Ereli, the deputy spokesman.
Of the 18 known dead, 10 perished in Thailand and eight in Sri Lanka, Ereli said. Of the 15 presumed dead, he said 14 were in Thailand and one was in Sri Lanka.
Before listing a citizen as presumed dead, Ereli said there had to be "compelling evidence," such as witnesses reporting a person had suddenly disappeared when the disaster struck.