CARITA, Indonesia, Desperately needed aid flowed into a stretch of Indonesia's tsunamistruck coastline Tuesday, but humanitarian workers warned that clean water and medicine supplies were dwindling as thousands crammed makeshift evacuation centres.
Fears about a public health crisis come as the death toll from Saturday's
volcanotriggered disaster rose to nearly 400 with thousands more displaced
from flattened homes.
A lot of the children are sick with fevers, headaches and they haven't had
enough water, said Rizal Alimin, a doctor working for NGO Aksi Cepat
Tanggap, at a local school that was turned into a temporary shelter.
We have less medicine than usualIt's not healthy here for evacuees.
There isn't enough clean water. They need food and people are sleeping on the
The powerful tsunami struck at night and without warning, sweeping over
popular beaches on southern Sumatra and western Java and inundated tourist
hotels and coastal settlements.
The latest death toll stood at 373, with 1,459 people injured and another
Experts have warned that more deadly waves could slam the stricken region.
Many of the more than 5,000 evacuees are too afraid to return home, fearing
I've been here three days, said Neng Sumarni, 40, who was sleeping with
her three children and husband on the school's floor with some three dozen
I'm scared because my home is right near the beach.
'Can't reach them'
Abu Salim, with volunteer group Tagana, said aid workers were scrambling to
stabilise the situation.
Today we're focusing on helping the evacuees in shelters by setting up
public kitchens and distributing logistics and more tents in suitable
places, he told AFP on Tuesday.
(People) still don't have access to running waterThere are many
evacuees who fled to higher ground and we still can't reach them.
Aid was flowing in mainly by road while two government boats were on their
way to several islands near the Sumatran coast to help dozens of marooned
Officials have said the evidence suggested that an eruption at the rumbling
Anak Krakatoa volcano in the Sunda Strait � between Java and Sumatra �
caused a section of the crater to collapse and slide into the ocean,
triggering the tsunami.
Unlike those caused by earthquakes, which usually trigger alert systems,
volcanotriggered tsunamis give authorities very little time to warn
residents of the impending threat.
Indonesia's disaster agency initially said there was no tsunami threat at
all, even as the killer wave crashed ashore.
It was later forced to issue a correction and an apology as it pointed to a
lack of early warning systems for the high death toll.
Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Monday: The lack of
a tsunami early warning system caused a lot of victims because people did not
have the time to evacuate.
Meanwhile, rescue teams were using their bare hands, diggers and other
heavy equipment to haul debris from the stricken area and hunt for corpses,
as hopes of finding more survivors dwindle.
The tsunami was Indonesia's third major natural disaster in six months,
following a series of powerful earthquakes on the island of Lombok in July
and August and a quaketsunami in September that killed around 2,200 people
in Palu on Sulawesi island, with thousands more missing and presumed dead.
It also came less than a week before the 14th anniversary of the 2004
Boxing Day tsunami, one of the deadliest disasters in history that killed
some 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including some
The vast archipelago nation is one of the most disasterhit nations on
Earth due to its position straddling the socalled Pacific Ring of Fire,
where tectonic plates collide.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)