A 7.7 magnitude earthquake off of Sumatra spawned a ‘significant’ tsunami that has left at least 103 dead and 150 missing, according to Indonesian officials.
~ Update: reports now indicating as many as 500 are missing; original story contines below. ~
The number of injured and dead is uncertain as the information trickles in from remote areas where communication is difficult. Witnesses have reported seeing waves of anywhere from 3 meters to 6 meters (almost 20 feet) high. One report is that a village of 200 people has been washed away and only 40 of them have been recovered.
Original reports from the Indonesian Ministry of Health were that more than 300 people were missing after the tsunami but they have since decreased the numbers.
It is believed that remote areas were hardest hit, including the Mentawai Islands. This is a popular surfing destination and it is thought that Pagai Island is the worst hit of them all. The large waves are keeping rescuers from being able to access the areas. It is unknown how long it will take to reach these places as a trip on a good day is normally ten hours.
The quake occurred at 9:42 pm on Monday and spawned a tsunami warning which was later lifted. Many agencies are now concerned with how to reach those remote areas that have been devastated by the tsunami. Indonesian government resources are all being sent to central Java as the volcano Mount Merapi is currently erupting and sending residents fleeing.
In 2004 a 9.1 magnitude quake hit off of Sumatra and generated a tsunami that took 225,000 lives in 14 different countries.