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Indonesia

23 killed, many missing in Indonesia tsunami, volcano may erupt

Villagers ride in motorcycles while Mount Merapi volcano emitting smoke is seen from Cangkringan village
Villagers ride in motorcycles while Mount Merapi volcano emitting smoke is seen from Cangkringan village Reuters

At least 23 people were killed and many are missing, including nine Australians, after a tsunami generated by an earthquake hit the Indonesian coast. Authorities have also ordered residents on the island Java to evacuate, amid warning that the country’s most active volcano may erupt.

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Late on Monday, a major 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit a chain of islands west of Sumatra, causing a tsunami which has left 23 people dead, emergency services say.

Waves have destroyed ten villages on the Mentawai islands.

In one of the villages struck on the island of Sipora, 80 per cent of the building are reported to have been damaged by the waves.

“Two dead bodies have been found in Sipora island. Several people are still missing in Bosua village and we are searching for them,” an official at the health ministry crisis centre said.

Rescuers are launching a hunt for a boat carrying a group of nine Australians who have gone missing.

On the island of Java, the Mount Merapi volcano has threatened to erupt and is spewing lava down its southern slopes.

Authorities have ordered close to 20,000 people to evacuate or risk being killed. But officials say a majority of residents are ignoring the order despite several minor eruptions.

Merapi’s last fatal blast was in June 2006, when it killed two people, and experts warn that it has more energy now than before.

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