Indonesia tsunami toll touches 400; health crisis erupts

Carita: Fears about a public health crisis heightens as the toll from Saturday’s volcano-triggered tsunami rose to nearly 400 with thousands more displaced from flattened homes. Desperately needed aid flowed into a stretch of Indonesia’s tsunami-struck coastline, but humanitarian workers warned that clean water and medicine supplies were dwindling as thousands crammed makeshift evacuation centres.

“A lot of the children are sick with fevers, headaches and they haven’t had enough water,” said Rizal Alimin, a doctor working for NGO Aksi Cepat Tanggap, at a local school that was turned into a temporary shelter.

“We have less medicine than usual. It’s not healthy here for evacuees. There isn’t enough clean water. They need food and people are sleeping on the floor.”

The powerful tsunami struck at night and without warning, sweeping over popular beaches on southern Sumatra and western Java and inundated tourist hotels and coastal settlements.

The latest death toll stood at 373, with 1,459 people injured and another 128 missing.