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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Indonesia tsunami: Rescuers to reach survivors

Rescuers battle to reach survivors at Indonesia - Sumatra.

Indonesia tsunamiIndonesia tsunami News Updates! Indonesian rescue teams are battling to reach an estimated 400 people believed to be missing since a tsunami struck small islands off the coast of Sumatra.

Officials say a 3m-high wave crashed into the Mentawai islands after a quake on Monday, killing at least 154 people.

Rescuers are now in the region, facing bad weather and post-quake aftershocks in villages levelled by the wave.

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

Officials said Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would fly back from a meeting with regional leaders to help deal with the tsunami aftermath.

He will also be briefed on the rescue effort on Java, where an erupting volcano has caused chaos.

US President Barack Obama, who spent some of his childhood in Indonesia, has spoken of his sadness at the deaths.

"At the same time, I am heartened and encouraged by the remarkable resiliency of the Indonesian people and the commitment of their government to rapidly assist the victims," he said in a statement.

He said the US was ready to help in any way.

At least 10 villages are thought to have been flattened by the tsunami, which was caused by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake late on Monday.

Waves reached 3m (10ft) high and the water swept inland as far as 600m on South Pagai.

The first images emerging from the Mentawai Islands show empty clearings where homes and buildings once stood, levelled and cleared by the power of the wave.

In the tsunami zone, regional disaster official Hermansyah confirmed that the number killed had risen to 154, and said those who had survived were in urgent need of help.

I'm so sorry that I couldn't save my wife and children as I panicked and didn't know what to do”

Rough seas were making it difficult to ship aid to the Mentawai islands from Padang, the nearest major port on Sumatra. Forecasters say the bad weather is likely to continue in the coming days.

The islands are described as extremely remote, with few roads or functioning telephone lines even before the tsunami hit, making it difficult to make an accurate assessment of the scale of the damage.

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