Indonesia Volcano 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Rescuers searching islands ravaged by a tsunami off western Indonesia fear the death toll of more than 300 is likely to climb because hundreds of missing people may have been swept away, an official said Thursday.
Elsewhere in Indonesia, villagers held a mass burial for some of the 30 people killed when one the country's most volatile volcanos erupted.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was to meet Thursday with survivors of the twin catastrophes, which struck within 24 hours in different corners of the seismically charged region, severely testing his disaster-prone nation's emergency response network.
Officials say a multimillion dollar warning system installed after the monster 2004 broke down one month ago because it was not being properly maintained.
In the tsunami-ravaged Mentawai islands, search and rescue teams found
beaches with swollen corpses lying on them, according to Harmensyah,
head of the West Sumatra provincial disaster management center.
He says the teams were losing hope of finding the more than 370 people
still missing since the wall of water, created by a 7.8-magnitute
earthquake, crashed into the islands.
"They believe many, many of the bodies were swept to sea," Harmensyah said.