Indonesia Tsunami: Better Weather Aids Rescuers

Improved weather conditions have allowed rescuers to step up their efforts to bring aid to survivors of a deadly tsunami in Indonesia.

The death toll has now risen to at least 435, although the number of missing has been halved after 135 people thought dead were found safe.

The tsunami hit the Mentawai islands on Monday after a 7.7 magnitude quake.

Meanwhile villagers are returning to the slopes of Indonesia's Mt Merapi after a lull in deadly eruptions there.Heavy rains and high winds have been plaguing the rescue effort since the tsunami struck.

But relief official Joskamatir told Agence France-Presse news agency on Sunday: ""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.""

On Saturday, 135 people thought to have perished were found hiding on higher ground, still afraid to return to the coastal villages.

One farmer on South Pagai island, Theopilus, 42, told AFP: ""We're in dire need of more food, tents and blankets. I feel really cold at night as it rains all the time.""

More than 23,000 people have been displaced by the tsunami.

About 100 are still thought to be missing.

Meanwhile on the slopes of Mt Merapi in central Java, hundreds of villages were returning to check homes and farms amid a lull in the volcanic activity that killed 36 people last week."