Indonesian Tsunami Death Toll Rises, Aid Trickles In

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The massive tsunami in Indonesia has killed at least 350 people and rescuers fear the number will rise, because hundreds more may have been swept away to sea.

A multimillion dollar warning system was installed after the monster 2004 quake and tsunami broke down one month ago. Officials said the system was not being properly maintained.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to meet Thursday with survivors of both this week's tsunami and volcanic eruption.

Aid supplies have finally begun to trickle in to the remote Mentawai islands that were hit hardest by the tsunami.

Operation Blessing International is among the relief groups that have struggled with rough seas and bad weather for days to bring needed supplies ashore.

"Our team was on the boat for 16 hours before they could disembark and head for shore," said OBI's Indonesia Director Mark McClendon. "And even then all of our relief supplies had to be unloaded. We are really only now assembling on the island, preparing for our initial relief operation."

Widespread devastation is evident in many places. The tsunami stripped the land bare or simply left homes uninhabitable.

There are hundreds of bodies needing to be buried and medical help is urgently needed by many of the survivors.

"There are people right now who are dying every minute every hour, because there is no medical relief that has reached them," McClendon said. "That is why we are focused on bringing in teams as quickly as possible who are doctors and nurses and paramedics to bring that emergency relief."

Operation Blessing International also has a medical team working near Mount Merapi where Indonesia's most volatile volcano erupted on Tuesday.

Government officials have warned the thousands of residents who fled the eruption not to return. Experts fear a lava dome perched on the crater could still collapse, causing an avalanche of blistering gas and debris.

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CBN News
Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

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