24 Hours of Agony: Indonesia Hit By Deadly Tsunami, Then Volcano

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Mount Merapi volcano


Located in one of the world’s most active areas for earthquakes and volcanoes, Indonesia endured two days of environmental disaster after a powerful earthquake, a tsunami and an erupting volcano struck in separate regions of the Indonesian archipelago on Monday and Tuesday, killing hundreds and displacing thousands, reports the New York Times.

The tsunami, triggered by a 7.7-magnitude undersea quake, hit the Mentawai Islands late Monday, which killed at least 113 people and left hundreds missing, including at least eight foreigners, officials said. Thousands more were left homeless.  Meanwhile, the Mount Merapi volcano in Indonesia erupted at least three times Tuesday, forcing thousands of nearby residents to flee amid choking smoke.  One person was killed and at least 10 people were injured, some with severe burns.

(See pictures: “The Asian Tsunami: Five Years Later.”)

It was not immediately clear why the two disasters occurred within hours of each other. Indonesia, an archipelago of 237 million people, is prone to environmental disaster because of its location on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire — a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.  Over 129 active volcanoes can be found across Indonesia’s 17,500 islands.

(See 10 of history’s deadliest earthquakes.)