The disaster-prone expanse of Indonesia has suffered three powerful blows to the region that has left over one hundred people dead Tuesday –and all three disasters were within hours of each other.
The fault that caused one of the world’s largest natural disasters back in December 2004, when a powerful earthquake trembled undersea and sent raging water to 14 countries in Indonesia, killing over 230,000 people, unleashed a strong undersea earthquake late Monday registering 7.7 in magnitude. The quake triggered a 10-foot tsunami that struck Tuesday, killing over 100 people and leaving thousands homeless.
According to officials, the tsunami struck the Mentawai Islands, a chain of about seventy islands and islets off the western coast of Sumatra, Siberut being the largest, that has become a destination popular among foreign surfers. The death toll from the tsunami is currently 113 – but steadily rising. Mujiharto, head of the Health Ministry's crisis center, expects the toll to rise significantly.
"We have 200 body bags on the way, just in case," he said. Meanwhile, between 150 and 500 people have been reported missing.
In addition to the killer tsunami were the eruptions of ash from Indonesia’s Merapi Volcano, located on the island of Java, that left one dead and about a dozen injured. Thousands living on the wall of the volcano have evacuated the area due to the smoke.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago that houses approximately 237 million people, is located on a string of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia known as the 'Pacific Ring of Fire' - making it extremely vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity.