Deadly Tsunami Strikes Indonesia, Scores Missing

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A powerful tsunami has struck remote islands located off western Indonesia, killing at least 23 people and leaving more than 160 others missing.

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake triggered a 10-foot high wave, washing away hundreds of homes in two villages.

The death toll from the quake late Monday, which struck 13 miles (20 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor, was expected to climb as reports on damage and injuries began trickling in Tuesday.

"We have 200 body bags on the way, just in case," said Mujiharto, who heads the state health ministry's crisis center.

About 3,000 people were seeking shelter Tuesday in emergency camps. Crews from several ships have yet to be unaccounted for in the Indian Ocean, according to disaster management agency officials.

One Australian boat operator described the wave that destroyed his boat.

"A two or three meter high wall of white water came into the bay and there was another boat anchored out the side of us," the operator said. "So between the wave and us, and the wave picked that boat up and just brought it towards us and ran straight into us. And our boat exploded, caught on fire. We had a fireball on the back deck and right through the saloon within seconds."

Emergency officials were also rushing to evacuate several thousand residents from the slopes of the country's most volatile volcano, Mount Merapi. Scientists warned that pressure building beneath its lava dome could trigger one of the most powerful blasts in years.

Indonesia is located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire and has been prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

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