Tsunami leaves at least 43 dead after hitting Sunda Strait beaches, Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency says


December 23, 2018 14:07:14

At least 43 people have been killed on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra when a tsunami struck areas around the Sunda Strait late on Saturday following an undersea landslide caused by a volcano.

Key points:

  • The tsunami was the result of an underwater landslide caused by volcanic activity
  • Pandeglang regency, Serang, and South Lampung were inundated with water
  • Indonesian authorities have said they are not aware of any foreigners affected

According to a statement by the government’s Disaster Mitigation Agency, another 584 people had been injured in the incident.

“It was caused by a combination of an undersea landslide resulting from volcanic activity on Anak Krakatau and a tidal wave,” disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

At least two people were missing, Mr Nugroho added.

Up to 430 homes are reported as being heavily damaged, along with nine hotels and 10 vehicles.

According to a statement from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, “the tsunami hit several areas of the Sunda Strait, including beaches in Pandeglang regency, Serang, and South Lampung”.

The tsunami struck about 9.30pm local time, it said, sending a 19-metre wall of water inland.

The worst affected area was the Pandeglang region of Banten province in Java, which encompasses the Ujung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, the geophysics agency added.

Of the deaths, 33 were in Pandeglang.

In the city of Bandar Lampung on southern Sumatra, hundreds of residents took refuge at the governor’s office.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he does not believe any Australians were affected by the tsunami. He said Australia would provide assistance if required.

Indonesian authorities have said they are not aware of any foreigners affected as yet.

Alif, a resident in Pandeglang district who goes by one name, told MetroTV many people were still searching for missing relatives.

Tourist Oystein Lund Andersen was taking photos of the volcano when he said he saw a large wave.

“I had to run, as the wave passed the beach and landed 15 to 20 metres inland,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Next wave entered the hotel area where I was staying and downed cars on the road behind it.

“Managed to evacuate with my family to higher ground through forest paths and villages, where we are taken care of [by] the locals.”

He said he and his family were unharmed.

Endan Permana, head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency in Pandeglang, told Metro TV that police were providing immediate assistance to victims in Tanjung Lesung in Banten province, a popular tourist getaway not far from Jakarta, as emergency workers had not arrived in the area yet.

“Many are missing,” Mr Permana said.

There was initial confusion over the tsunami, with Mr Nugroho initially tweeting that the flooding was the result of extreme tides caused by the full moon.

Mr Nugroho corrected his tweets hours later, confirming it was a tsunami after receiving updated data.

He said the eruption of Krakatau was “not large” and added there were no “significant” seismic tremors to indicate a tsunami was coming.

The Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait that links the Indian Ocean and Java Sea erupted about 24 minutes before the tsunami, creating a column of volcanic ash estimated to be up to 500 metres high, according to the geophysics agency.

The 305-metre-high volcano — about 200 kilometres southwest of capital Jakarta — has been erupting since June.

In July, authorities widened its no-go areas to two kilometres from the crater.

In September, at least 832 people were killed by an earth quake and tsunami that hit the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, which is just east of Borneo.

Krakatau’s most recent eruption was in October last year.







First posted

December 23, 2018 10:37:12

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