Indonesia has ramped up efforts to help those on remote islands hit by a devastating tsunami as an official put the latest death toll at 435, with 110 missing and feared dead.
Rescuers trying to reach isolated villages were hampered by torrential rains and heavy seas yesterday, as three-metre-high waves pounded the coastline.
But in a rare piece of good news, 135 people were found alive, hiding on high ground and too afraid of another wave to return to their shattered villages.
“So far, 435 people are known to have been killed by the tsunami and 110 people are missing,” disaster management official Joskamatir said.
“We’re still looking for them [but] there’s a high likelihood they are dead, mostly buried in sand.
“The weather is better today, there’s no rain. So we hope we will be able to send the supplies quickly.
“We’re also expecting two more helicopters to arrive to air-drop relief supplies to remote areas.”
The tsunami, which was triggered on Monday by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake, has displaced nearly 15,000 people on the Mentawai islands off the coast of Sumatra.
Emergency services in Indonesia are being further stretched by the continued eruption of Mount Merapi in central Java, where more than 50,000 people have been evacuated.
Australia and the United States have pledged aid worth a total of $3 million while the European Commission released 1.5 million euros ($2 million) for victims of both disasters.