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Indonesian tsunami death toll passes 400

Reuters/Ho

The death toll from Monday’s devastating tsunami that struck western Indonesia has risen to 408, with hopes fading for another 303 still missing. Disaster management official Agus Prayitno said 12,865 people were living in makeshift camps on the Mentawai islands, off the west coast of Sumatra.

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Officials say the final death toll may pass 500, with many of the victims sucked
out to sea as the tsunami receeded.

Entire villages were wiped out by the three-metre wave, which was triggered by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake.

Meanwhile on the island of Java, the Mount Merapi volcano has erupted for a second time.

It is again spewing lava and ash, and threatening residents who returned to their homes after Tuesday’s eruption killed 34 people.

Heat clouds are dangerous for people who had refused to obey orders to evacuate the danger zone.

Some 50,000 people have fled to temporary shelters but officials expressed frustration that many returned to the volcano's slopes despite the threat of another eruption.
 

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