Tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in West Sumatra province of Indonsia has claimed nearly 450 lives, with 96 others still missing, a senior official said here on Sunday. "As of Saturday, the tsunami has killed about 450 people," Deputy minister for environmental damage control and climate change Arief Yuwono said, Xinhua reported.
It was predicted that the death toll will be increased as the searching and registration for the victims are being conducted on dozens of islands in the area.
The Ministry of Environment has recommended that survivors of a tsunami that swept South Pagai Island coast in Mentawai Islands off West Sumatra be relocated due to the vulnerability of the area to natural disasters, he said.
He added the rehabilitation and construction in the islands should include resettlement of the people.
"We recommend that the local people leave their homes as they are prone to disasters,"Antara news agency quoted Arief as saying.
After dispatching an observation team that would help draft a new spatial plan for coastal areas across Mentawai Islands which hit by tsunami since Monday. Arief said the observation team would help locate resettlement areas for the local residents via satellite.
The observation team includes experts in spatial planning, agro- industry, coast and marine, biodiversity and waste management.