Tsunami, volcano death toll passes 300 in Indonesia

October 28, 2010 02:29

MENTAWAI ISLANDS, Indonesia — The death toll from a tsunami and a volcano rose to more than 300 Wednesday as more victims of Indonesia's double disasters were found and an official said a warning system installed after a deadly ocean wave in 2004 had broken from a lack of maintenance.

Hundreds were still missing after Monday's tsunami struck the remote Mentawi islands off western Sumatra, where officials were only beginning to chart the scope of the devastation. At least 311 people died as the huge wave, triggered by an undersea earthquake, washed away wooden and bamboo homes, displacing more than 20,000 people.

About 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to the east in central Java, the Mount Merapi volcano was mostly quiet but still a threat after Tuesday's eruption that sent searing ash clouds into the air, killing at least 30 people and injuring 17. Among the dead was a revered elder who had refused to leave his ceremonial post as caretaker of the mountain's spirits.

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