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At least 113 dead after tsunami hits Mentawai Islands JAKARTA - Navy ships packed with medicine and food and rescuers in helicopters headed to remote Indonesian islands on Tuesday that were pounded by a 3-meter tsunami, sweeping away villages and killing at least 113 people.

Rough seas and bad weather have hampered relief operations, leaving villagers to fend for themselves for nearly two days. With not enough people to dig graves, corpses littered beaches and roads, according to district chief, Edison Salelo Baja. Fisherman were scouring waters in search of survivors.

Disaster officials have been unable so far to reach many of the villages on the hardest hit Mentawai islands - a popular surfer's destination that is usually reachable only by a 12-hour boat ride. But they were preparing for the worst Wednesday. "We have 200 body bags on the way, just in case," said Mujiharto, who heads the Health Ministry's crisis center, putting the death toll so far at 113 with hundreds more still missing.

The fault line that ruptured Monday on Sumatra island's coast also caused the 2004 quake and monster Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity due to its location on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire - a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

The 7.7-magnitude quake that struck late Monday just 13 miles (20 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor was followed by at least 14 aftershocks, the largest measuring 6.2, and many panicked residents have been too afraid to return home.

That could account in part for the more than 500 people still missing, said Hendri Dori Satoko, a local parliamentarian who was overseeing a fact-finding missing. "We're trying to stay hopeful," he said. The first cargo plane loaded down with 16 tons of tents, medicine, food and clothes was expected to arrive by Wednesday afternoon, said Nelis Zuliastri a spokeswoman for the National Disaster Management Agency.

Two helicopters also were on the way, as was a Navy ship and a boat carrying dozens of police and military personnel, said Ade Edward, another disaster official. Officials say hundreds of wooden and bamboo homes were washed away on the island of Pagai, with water flooding crops and roads up to 600 yards (meters) inland. In Muntei Baru, a village on Silabu island, 80 percent of the houses were badly damaged.

Those and other islets hit were part of the Mentawai island chain, 175 miles (280 kilometers) from Sumatra. Eight Australian survivors, and American and a New Zealander arrived in the Sumatran city of Padang on Wednesday, recounting their harrowing encounter with the tsunami. They said they were on the back deck of their anchored boat, the 'MV Midas,' when the wall of water smashed them into a neighboring vessel, triggering a fire that quickly ripped through their cabin.

"They hit us directly in the side of the boat, piercing a fuel tank," said Daniel North, the American crew member. "Almost immediately, the captain gave the order to abandon ship and everyone got off the boat." They clung to surfboards, fenders - anything that floated - as they washed in the wetlands and then climbed the highest trees they could find and waited for more than 90 minutes until they felt safe.

Ade Edward, a disaster management agency official, said crews from a tourist boat were found safe after more than 24 hours missing in the Indian Ocean, including up to nine foreigners.


Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake') Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake'):
26 October 2010 · Powerful earthquake, small tsunamis hit Sumatra
17 October 2010 · Strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake hits off Maluku island
12 October 2010 · Strong earthquake hits eastern Indonesia, no damage expected
30 September 2010 · No tsunami after 7.4 magnitude quake off Papua
21 August 2010 · 5.0 magnitude quake shakes Yogyakarta
18 June 2010 · Districts in Yapen Waropen isolated by earthquakes

Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake') Tags: tsunami, Mentawai Islands, dead


Posted in Earthquake @ 27 October 2010 10:29 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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