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Rescue workers, officials debate warning system as Indonesian volcano erupts again

The responses to Indonesia's back-to-back disasters this week and revelations about the possibility that the warning system did not have proper upkeep highlight the difficulties in trying to put together an efficient disaster management system.

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A general view shows a camp for refugees displaced by the eruption of Mount Merapi at the Jumoyo field in Magelang district, Indonesia, on Oct. 27.

Muhammad Nashir/Indonesian Red Cross/Reuters

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As the death toll from Monday’s tsunami in west Sumatra crept close to 350 people, Indonesian officials debated the efficiency of an early warning system put in place after the 2004 tsunami.

Rescue workers 800 miles east of the affected tsunami region also scrambled to continue assisting the nearly 40,000 people displaced by the eruption of Mount Merapi, which blasted a second round of hot ash and debris on Thursday evening.

The responses to back-to-back disasters this week and revelations about the possibility that the warning system did not have proper upkeep highlight the difficulties the government faces in trying to put together an efficient disaster management system. Indonesia’s economy has been soaring lately, but it still struggles with widespread corruption and budget shortfalls that prevent infrastructure development.

Monitor List: World's 5 biggest tsunamis

No warning alarm

The 10-foot wave that followed a 7.7-magnitude earthquake near the Mentawai Islands failed to set off the alarm on an expensive alert system made up of buoys that one Indonesian official says were tampered with.

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