A tsunami that hit Indonesia has left 154 dead and with 400 people still missing – including several Australians – the toll is rising.
On Monday, a 7.7-magnitude quake 13 miles beneath the ocean floor triggered a 10-foot wave that hit several of the Mentawai islands, off the island of Sumatra.
The tsunami was caused by the same fault that triggered the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that killed 230,000 people.
An official in Indonesian village Betu Monga, which was hit hard by the tsunami, said: “Of the 200 people living in that village, only 40 have been found. A hundred and sixty are still missing, mostly women and children.
“We have people reporting to the security post here that they could not hold on to their children, that they were swept away. A lot of people are crying.”
A number of Australians who were on a surfing trip to the Indonesian islands are amoung those reported missing. Humanitarian organisation SurfAid said there were “genuine fears” for them as their charter boat was reported to be close to the quake epicentre.
Another group of Australians, who were on a boat when the tsunami hit, told Australia’s Nine Network how their vessel was smashed against another causing a fire to break out in the cabin.
“We threw whatever we could that floated – surfboards, fenders – then we jumped into the water,” said a member of their party.
“Fortunately, most of us had something to hold on to … and we just washed in the wetlands, and scrambled up the highest trees that we could possibly find and sat up there for an hour and a half.”
Disastrously, a volcano is currently erupting on the island of Java, stretching Indonesia’s emergency services which are trying to help victims of both.
– Frankie Mullin