Monday, November 8, 2010

Earthquake, Tsunami & Volcano, all on the same day

“Suddenly trees, houses and all things in the village were sucked into the sea and nothing was left,” said Joni Sageru after a tsunami that slammed into her island off western Indonesia.

More than 430 people were killed, and 88 still missing after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami destroyed villages and towns along the cost of some outlying islands of western Indonesia. Rescue teams “believe many, many of the bodies were swept to sea.”

On the same day Mount Merapi erupted, killing at least 38 and leaving about 70,000 people homeless. The twin disasters. Mount Merapi has erupted three times within two weeks.

Along with the 33 people killed by a volcano that erupted Tuesday more than 800 miles to the east in central Java, the number of dead from the twin disasters has now topped 400. Mount Merapi began rumbling again Thursday after a lull that allowed mourners to hold a mass burial for its victims. There were no reports of new injuries or damage.

The double catastrophes in different parts of the country, has severely testing Indonesia’s emergency response network.

Some still wept for lost loved ones as they lay on straw mats or sat on the floor, waiting for medics to treat injuries such as cuts and broken limbs. Outside, some rescuers wore face masks as they wrapped corpses in black body bags.

Residents from Kinahrejo, Ngrangkah and Kaliadem — villages that were devastated in Tuesday’s blast — crammed into refugee camps. Officials brought cows, buffalo and goats down the mountain so that villagers wouldn’t try to go home to check on their livestock. 

Thousands attended a mass burial for 26 of the victims six miles from the base of the volcano. Family and friends wept and hugged one another as the bodies were lowered into the grave in rows.