From: Renjani Puspo Sari, Reuters, JAKARTA
Published October 28, 2010 08:36 AM

Indonesia disaster toll hits 377 as volcano erupts again

There were no immediate reports of new casualties after Merapi's second eruption. More than 40,000 people had fled or been evacuated from Merapi's slopes earlier in the week, but many started to return after the volcano appeared to become calmer.


Officials said the death toll from a tsunami that hit the remote western Mentawai islands on Monday had reached at least 343. The tsunami was triggered on Monday by a 7.5 magnitude quake. A day later, Mount Merapi on the outskirts of Yogyakarta city on Java island erupted, killing at least 34.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who had been due to take part in a summit of Asian leaders in Hanoi from Thursday to Saturday, flew back to Indonesia after the twin disasters.

"The president was very moved when he met the victims of the tsunami and earthquake," Yudhoyono's spokesman, Julian Pasha, told Reuters, adding that the president planned to return to Hanoi before Saturday.

"He has issued instructions for all aid to continue to flow in without disruption."

Parts of an early warning system installed after a huge 2004 tsunami killed more than 226,000 people had been stolen but overall the system still worked, said the head of the meteorological agency, Sri Woro Harijono.

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