Indonesian tsunami death toll tops 400

Dozens of injured survivors of a tsunami off western Indonesia today languished at a sorely strapped hospital alongside a newly orphaned 2-month-old baby found in a storm drain, as the death toll from the disaster rose above 400.

The injured lay on mats or the bare floor as rainwater dripped onto them from holes in the ceiling and intravenous cords hung from plastic ropes strung from the rafters. The baby, its lungs filled with fluid and with cuts on its face, blinked sleepily in a humidified crib.



"We need doctors, specialists," nurse Anputra said at the tiny hospital in Pagai Utara — one of the four main islands in the Mentawai chain slammed by Monday's tsunami.



The toll from the tsunami and the 7.7-magnitude earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean that spawned it rose to 408 today as officials found more bodies, and 303 people were still missing, said Agus Prayitno, of the West Sumatra provincial disaster management center. Rescue teams "believe many, many of the bodies were swept to sea," said Harmensyah, the disaster center's chief.



Along with the 33 people killed by a volcano that erupted Tuesday more than 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to the east in central Java, the number of dead from Indonesia's twin disasters this week has now reached 441.



After a lull that allowed mourners to hold a mass burial for victims, Mount Merapi started rumbling again Thursday with three small eruptions and three others early Friday — easing pressure and possibly making another big eruption less likely. There were no reports of new injuries or damage.



The catastrophes struck within 24 hours in different parts of the seismically active country, severely testing Indonesia's emergency response network.



Aid workers trickling into the remote region found giant chunks of coral and rocks in places where homes once stood. Huge swaths of land were submerged. Swollen corpses dotted roads and beaches.



At the hospital on Pagai Utara, 35-year-old Sarifinus cradled his 5-year-old, Dimas, who screamed as medical staff tended to his broken arm.



The man described how, when the towering wall of water came, he grabbed his two other young sons and ran toward the mountain. The wave tore both from his arms and sucked them away.



Sarifinus and his wife, Martina, who sat staring blankly in a corner of the hospital, found Dimas alive after the waters receded.



One of the hardest hit areas with 65 dead was the village of Pro Rogat, on Pagai Seatandug island.



Villagers there huddled under tarps in the rain and told how many people who had fled to the hills were now too afraid to return home.



Mud and palm fronds covered the body of the village's 60-year-old pastor, Simorangkir. He lay on the ground, partially zipped into a body bag. Police and relatives took turns pushing a shovel into the sodden dirt next to him for his grave.



His 28-year-old grandson, Rio, traveled by boat to Pro Rogat from his home on a nearby island to check on his relatives after the quake and tsunami. He said he was picking through the wreckage when someone cried out that he had found a body.



Rio walked over and saw the face of his dead grandfather, partially buried under several toppled palm trees, looking back at him.



"Everybody here is so sad," Rio said, as relatives prepared to lay his grandfather in the grave.



At the Mount Merapi volcano, hot clouds of ash spewed from the mountain at 6:10 a.m., 8:40 a.m. and 11:19 Friday, according to Subandriyo, a senior government volcanologist.



The activity appeared to be easing pressure behind a lava dome that has formed in the crater, said Safari Dwiyono, a scientist who has been monitoring Merapi for 15 years.



"If the energy continues to release little by little like this, it reduces the chances of having a bigger, powerful eruption," he said.



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 (10 kilometers) from the base of the volcano. Family and friends wept and hugged one another as the bodies were lowered into the grave in rows.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones