Indonesia: Tsunami Death Toll Tops 400


Dozens of injured survivors of a tsunami off western Indonesia today languished at a sorely strapped hospital alongside a newly orphaned 2-month-old baby found in a storm drain, as the death toll from the disaster rose above 400.

The injured lay on mats or the bare floor as rainwater dripped onto them from holes in the ceiling and intravenous cords hung from plastic ropes strung from the rafters. The baby, its lungs filled with fluid and with cuts on its face, blinked sleepily in a humidified crib.

“We need doctors, specialists,” nurse Anputra said at the tiny hospital in Pagai Utara — one of the four main islands in the Mentawai chain slammed by Monday’s tsunami.

The toll from the tsunami and the 7.7-magnitude earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean that spawned it rose to 408 today as officials found more bodies, and 303 people were still missing, said Agus Prayitno, of the West Sumatra provincial disaster management center. Rescue teams “believe many, many of the bodies were swept to sea,” said Harmensyah, the disaster center’s chief.

Along with the 33 people killed by a volcano that erupted Tuesday more than 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to the east in central Java, the number of dead from Indonesia’s twin disasters this week has now reached 441.

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Tsunami Hits Samoa Islands, Dozens Die

Update:
Samoa Tsunami Kills 141 Before Quake Prompts Indian Ocean Watch (Bloomberg)


samoa
The downtown of Fagatoga was flooded when a tsunami hit American Samoa early on Tuesday. (AP)

SYDNEY, Australia — A powerful tsunami generated by an undersea earthquake killed more than two dozen people and wiped out several villages in the tropical islands of American Samoa and Samoa early on Tuesday there, according to officials and local residents who were working to assess the damage.

The earthquake struck around dawn, as many residents were preparing for work and getting their children ready for school. Officials said they expected heavy damage in the southern parts of Samoa and American Samoa, a United States territory with about 60,000 residents.

Damaged telephone lines on both islands hampered efforts to count the casualties and assess the destruction from the earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.0. It struck below the ocean about 120 miles southwest of American Samoa and 125 miles south of Samoa, and it was centered only 11 miles below the seabed, according to the United States Geological Survey.

At least 14 people were killed in American Samoa, the territory’s governor, Togiola T. A. Tulafono, said at a news conference in Hawaii. The toll could rise as emergency workers gain access to damaged areas, he and other officials said.

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Food Riots and Speculators

Food riots have broken out across the globe destabilizing large parts of the developing world. China is experiencing double-digit inflation. Indonesia, Vietnam and India have imposed controls over rice exports. Wheat, corn and soy beans are at record highs and threatening to go higher still. Commodities are up across the board. The World Food Program is warning of widespread famine if the West doesn’t provide emergency humanitarian relief. The situation is dire. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez summed it up like this, “It is a massacre of the world’s poor. The problem is not the production of food. It is the economic, social and political model of the world. The capitalist model is in crisis.”

Right on, Hugo. There is no shortage of food (This is disinformation – The Infinite Unknown); it’s just the prices that are making food unaffordable. Bernanke’s “weak dollar” policy has ignited a wave of speculation in commodities which is pushing prices into the stratosphere. The UN is calling the global food crisis a “silent tsunami”, but its more like a flood; the world is awash in increasingly worthless dollars that are making food and raw materials more expensive. Foreign central banks and investors presently hold $6 trillion in dollars and dollar-backed assets, so when the dollar starts to slide, the pain radiates through entire economies. This is especially true in countries where the currency is pegged to the dollar. That’s why most of the Gulf States are experiencing runaway inflation.

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