Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Indonesia tsunami: More than 300 Death

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Rescue teams on the Mentawai islands say hundreds are still missing, two days after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami in western Sumatra.

Officials say there were faults with an early warning system designed to alert locals to the 3m-high (10ft) wave.

Indonesia's president has cut short a trip to Vietnam to visit the islands and oversee the relief operation.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono flew back from a meeting with regional leaders to help deal with the tsunami aftermath.

On Thursday he is expected to tour the region to monitor relief efforts. He will also be briefed on the rescue effort on Java, where an erupting volcano has caused chaos.
Warning doubts

At least 10 villages on a series of islands known as the Pagai islands are thought to have been flattened by the tsunami, caused by the earthquake late on Monday.

Waves reached 3m high and the water swept as far as 600m inland on South Pagai.

The devastation is only now beginning to emerge, says BBC Indonesia correspondent Karishma Vaswani.

The first aerial images emerging from the Mentawai Islands showed bodies being collected from empty clearings where homes and buildings once stood before they were levelled by the power of the wave.

Corpses were strewn along beaches and roads, said district chief Edison Salelo Baja.

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Rescue teams are now finally on the ground, but they have yet to reach the worst affected areas, with bad weather delaying their work, adds our correspondent

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