Giant waves and volcanic eruption kill at least 340 in Indonesia

42152.jpegAt least 340 people have died and more than 400 are missing as Indonesia reels from a tsun­ami and volcanic eruption hours apart. The death toll caused by the 3m (10ft) wave rose to 311 last night. Rescuers were struggling to reach many of the hardest-hit villages on the Mentawais - a popular surfers' destination usually reachable only by a 12-hour boat ride.

Elsewhere, rescue crews scoured the slopes of Mt Merapi, the country's most volatile volcano on the island of Java, after the eruption killed at least 30 villagers, Metro reports.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono rushed home from a state visit to Vietnam to deal with the catastrophes, which struck within 24 hours along different points of the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a series of fault lines prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Vice President Boediono toured devastated villages on hardest hit Pagai Utara island and met with survivors and local officials, his office said. At one point, he paused solemnly in front of several corpses in body bags, Independent informs.


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