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Οκτώβριος 27, 2010 / dosambr

Εικόνες από την βιβλική καταστροφή που προκάλεσε το ηφαίστειο Merapi της Ιάβας

Toll Rises After Volcano And Tsunami Strike

The number of people killed in a double natural disaster in Indonesia has risen after a volcano erupted and a tsunami smashed into several islands.

Some 300 people are known to have died so far and there are fears the toll could rise much further.

Mount Merapi, one of the country’s most active volcanoes, spewed out ash, lava, and gas on the main island of Java, killing at least 28 people.

Most were burned to death by bursts of hot air. Among the victims were a baby and a man known as the volcano’s traditional «gatekeeper».

The elderly spiritual guardian of the mountain, Mbah Maridjan, was believed by many locals to possess magic powers.

Many victims had been found in or around his house in the village of Kinahredjo, close to the volcano’s crater, reports said.

The eruption happened less than 24 hours after a tsunami several hundred miles away hit Indonesian islands off Sumatra, triggered by a powerful earthquake unconnected to the volcano.

At least 272 people are known to have been killed and more than 400 are still missing, officials have said.

Villager injured after Mount Merapi volcano erupted on Java, Indonesia

The injured were taken to hospital after the eruption

Killer waves pounded the remote Mentawai Islands, an area popular with surfers off the west coast of Sumatra, on the major fault line known as the «Pacific Ring of Fire».

The 7.7-magnitude quake generated waves as high as three metres and swept away 10 villages, officials said.

The tsunami surged as far as 600 metres inland on South Pagai island. On North Pagai island, a resort and almost 200 houses were flattened.

One Australian tour guide said his boat with 15 people aboard was destroyed by a «wall of white water» which crashed into a bay. Some people had to cling to trees to survive, he said.

«The bay we were in was several hundred metres across and the wall of white water was from one side to the other, it was quite scary,» Rick Hallet, who operates a charter-boat business, told Fairfax Radio Network.

«When the tsunami struck there were dozens of fishermen out at sea. Their bodies were found the next morning floating on the water or cast ashore on the beach,» said disaster management head Harmensyah.

Mount Merapi erupts

Mount Merapi erupts on the island of Java

He added: «We need to find the missing people as soon as possible. Some of them might have run away to the mountains, but many would have been swept away.»

Speaking about the eruption, government volcanologist Surono said: «We heard three explosions, spewing volcanic material as high as 1.5 kilometres and sending heat clouds down the slopes.»

Thousands of people fled in panic after the eruption, some covered in white ash, as officials with loudhailers tried to help them escape the area. Television footage showed long queues of trucks and cars.

Authorities may have saved many lives when they ordered thousands of people to flee from a 10-kilometre danger zone on Monday, after raising the threat level for the volcano to red, the highest possible.

The order affected about 19,000 people but it was not clear how many had obeyed and moved to temporary shelters.





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