Desperation Grips Indonesian Tsunami Survivors

An elderly woman at an evacuation center for those displaced by the Mount Merapi eruption in Indonesia. Photo by: IRIN

Desperation is growing among tsunami survivors in Indonesia as the death toll from last week’s natural disaster tops 400.

The latest death toll in the Mentawi islands, which were hardest hit by the tsunami caused by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake, has reached 449, according to The Associated Press.

The local government is shifting its focus on providing medical assistance and shelter to the tsunami survivors even as rescue operations continue in the region, BNO News reports.

>> Aid Starts to Flow Into Disaster-stricken Indonesia

Poor weather and logistics, however, are hampering relief and rescue operations.

“Some villages are so remote they don’t have roads linking them, while some have no docks and the water is too shallow for even smaller ships to approach,” Gagah Prakoso of the Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency told Bloomberg. “Helicopters are the most effective means.”

Residents of remote villages are starting to complain about the slow response from the Indonesian government.

“The relief from the government is very late. We still haven’t received anything from the government,” a villager from the Munte village told Agence France-Presse.

>> In Disaster-ravaged Indonesia, Aid Slow to Arrive

Update: According to AP, aid work has now resumed following a break of weather.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.