Indonesia's Merapi volcano erupts again and threatens more
Indonesia's Mt. Merapi erupted again on Friday. Officials say most, but not all, of the danger is past.
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The PMI is working with the government to provide medical services and counseling to refugees, while international nongovernmental organization are helping distribute supplies to the four districts closest to the volcano.Skip to next paragraph
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“Our focus is on meeting the needs of the children,” says Yeye Edwina, a coordinator with the Christian humanitarian organization World Vision, which is distributing 2,000 relief kits containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and blankets.
Rain has helped clear the air of ash, but many of those in evacuation centers have been forced to sleep on thin mats on damp ground. Relief workers say many children have coughs and they worry about respiratory problems.
Rising tsunami death toll
Meanwhile, the death toll 800 miles to the west in the tsunami-hit Mentawai Islands ratcheted up to nearly 400 Friday, with officials saying search teams were continuing to look for the hundreds still missing.
A 10-foot wave sparked by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit the remote Mentawai Island chain Monday evening, taking most residents by surprise. Disaster official Ade Edward says around 420 homes had been destroyed or damaged and a handful of villages flattened.
The Mentawais are comprised of four main islands, with a total population of around 40,000. Unlike earlier disasters that hit higher population centers, a death toll in the hundreds is likely to have a significant impact on the Mentawais. Officials say the lack of warning and secure shelter may be one reason the death toll has been so high.
Rescue workers say many bodies may have been swept out to sea, but some people are believed to have run inland in search of safety. Mr. Edward says he hopes people will begin returning to their villages now that the danger is over.
Thousands of volunteers and rescue officials have arrived to oversee relief efforts that include medical services and supply distribution. Officials now are focused on creating a plan to assist those in need beyond the initial search and rescue efforts.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Mount Merapi killed 1,300 people in 1930, while an earthquake off the coast of north Sumatra in 2004 sparked a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people across the Indian Ocean.