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Indonesia

Merapi erupts as weather disrupts tsunami relief

Reuters / Crack Palinggi

Indonesia's Mount Merapi spewed more ash on Monday as the country struggled to care for 65,000 people displaced by the volcano and a deadly tsunami. The relief effort after the tsunami which occured on the same day has been hampered by poor weather.

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Merapi's major eruptions last Tuesday have since forced some 50 000 people to relocate into temporary shelters.

“There'll be more eruptions as not all the energy has been released. Eruptions will continue to take place in the weeks ahead," volcanologist Surono told the AFP news agency.

Meanwhile tsunami relief efforts approximately 1,300 kilometres to the west are also facing problems. 

The latest official death toll in the tsunami stood at 431 with another 88 missing, feared dead, and almost 15,000 made homeless.

Emergency response officials deny reports that aid is rotting in ports a week after the disaster.

"The delays were due to unfriendly weather. But now we can reach the affected areas and aid is being sent, although it's limited," said disaster management official Joskamatir .

He dismissed reports of looting, poor coordination of the relief effort and food going bad on the docks as "untrue".

The three-metre wave was triggered by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake and flattened around 10 villages, destroying schools, mosques and traditional homes along remote and undeveloped beaches.

Survivors have complained that aid has been too slow to reach them, and relief workers have said coordination has been poor.

Mentawai local official Yudas Sabagalet told a local website that he has doubts over government plans to relocate residents from Mentawai islands to a safer place.

Instead of relocation he suggested allowing residents to live on their lands, but far from the beach.

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