June 25, 2019

Indonesian Tsunami death toll rises

A Modern disaster - motorbikes to get to higher ground and mobile phones to contact loved ones.

A tsunami that hit the Mentawai islands off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia yesterday has killed more than 100 people with hundreds more missing.

The tsunami followed the 7.7-magnitude quake which hit 78 km west of South Pagai, one of the Mentawai islands, late on Monday. Local official Hendri Dori Satoko has reportedly said the latest death toll was 108 dead and 502 missing.

Most buildings in the coastal village of Betu Monga were destroyed, said Hardimansyah, an official with the regional branch of the Department of Fisheries. “Of the 200 people living in that village, only 40 have been found. One hundred and sixty are still missing, mostly women and children. We have people reporting to the security post here that they could not hold on to their children, that they were swept away. A lot of people are crying.”

The Macaronis surfing resort on North Pagai island was also hit. In an official press release, World Surfaris said Macaronis had “experienced a level of devastation that has rendered the resort inoperable.”

Mudjiarto, the head of the disaster response unit at the Health Ministry, told Reuters that two bodies had been found near Sipora island and that several people were still missing.

In South Pagai island, waves penetrated about 600 metres into coastal villages, while in North Pagai island, waves reached to the roof of local houses, he said.

Newswarped is hoping that many of the missing have escaped to higher ground and not made contact with authorities yet.

We are also a bit disturbed that this disaster was virtually ignored by the mainstream world media for the first 24 hours. Call me cynical but it didn’t hit the headlines until there was a significant body count to report. When newswarped posted the first reports yesterday we had to check it was correct several times because the ‘big guns’ media were not running it.