The devastation after Monday’s tsunami in western Indonesia is clear from the air. Over 280 people are known to have died when the three metre wave hit, at least 400 are still missing.
The wave was triggered by a 7.5 magnitude quake off the coast of Sumatra which then slammed into the Mentawai islands.
As the rescue effort escalated Indonesia’s Vice President Boediono was one of the first government officials to visit survivors; questions are being asked why the early warning tsunami system which was put in place after the 2004 disaster failed. Some reports say it had been vandalised.
Meanwhile the search for victims goes on. Hundreds of wooden and bamboo homes were washed away with water flooding crops and roads up to 600 metres inland.
Boat have been arriving with tons of tents , medicine, food and clothing. So far the Indonesian government has resisted offers of foreign aid, insisting they are coping with this latest natural disaster.