Panicked residents, police, and soldiers in the remote fishing village of Sumur, Indonesia, clobbered by a devastating weekend tsunami ran to higher ground Tuesday, shouting "Water is coming! Water is coming!" and reciting verses from the Quran as emergency messages were broadcast over mosque speakers. It proved to be a false alarm, reports the AP, but a similar frenzy broke out in Tanjung Lesung, another tsunami-stricken area located hours away, as unsettled survivors of the disaster remained traumatized by a tragedy that killed more than 420 people and left thousands homeless. Meanwhile, Christmas celebrations were replaced by somber prayers, as church leaders called on Christians across Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, to pray for tsunami victims.
The death toll climbed to 429 on Tuesday, with more than 1,400 people injured and at least 128 missing, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency. He said more than 16,000 people were displaced and that there was an urgent need for heavy equipment in the Sumur subdistrict near Ujung Kulon National Park to help get aid flowing and reach people who may be injured or trapped. Military troops, government personnel and volunteers continued searching along debris-strewn beaches. Yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out where victims were found, and weeping relatives identified the dead. Many searched for missing loved ones at hospital morgues. "This is an unusual situation because we have a very bad disaster that killed hundreds of our sisters and brothers," says one pastor whose Christmas congregation was about half its normal size. "So our celebration is full of grief."
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