Krakatau-triggered tsunami kills at least 168 in Indonesia-media

Sunday, 2018-12-23 14:24:41
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The tsunami swamped parts of the coast around the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra island. (Sourrce:NDTV.com)
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A tsunami killed at least 168 people and injured hundreds on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra following an underwater landslide believed caused by the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano, officials and media said on Sunday (December 23).

The tsunami collapsed a total of 430 houses and nine hotels, and caused serious damages on 10 ships and less serious damages on scores of others, spokesman of national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told Xinhua in a text message.

Pandeglang district of Banten province suffered the most from the tsunami, and other two districts of Serang in the province and Lampung Selatan in Lampung province were also impacted by it, said Sutopo.

"Now, it is being prepared a survey and a mapping (of the risks of the disaster) with an aircraft," said Sutopo.

In the Pandeglang district, huge waves rattled residential areas and several tourist destinations situated along the coastal areas, such as Pantai Tanjung Lesung, Sumur, Penimbang, Teluk Lada dan Carita.

"When the tragedy occurred, many people were spending their time along the coastal areas of Pandeglang," he said.

The incident also triggered evacuation, but the spokesman did not give specific details as the risk assessment is underway.

The waters submerged the area with the height of four to five meters, leaving scores of people missing, head of emergency department of disaster management agency in the district Endang Permana said.

"Many people were missing, they were swept by waves when they were watching a performance in coastal area," Permana told Xinhua over phone from the district.

The meteorology and geophysics agency bans local community from having activities in the coastal areas of the strait by far, as investigation on the risks of the volcano eruption is being undertaken, said Sutopo.

In Lampung Selatan district, evacuation of those under the rubble of collapsed buildings and search for missing persons who were swept by waves during the tsunami are undergoing, said Ketut Sukerta, head of the disaster management agency in the district.

"Over 100 buildings collapsed, we are now attempting to rescue the people trapped under the rubble and find those swept by the waves," he told Xinhua by phone from Lampung Selatan district.

The national search and rescue office has deployed its personnel to search and rescue the victims of the catastrophe, head of communication for media of the national search and rescue office Yusuf Latief said.

"We are ready for deployment of more personnel and equipment to recover and rescue the affected people," he told Xinhua over the phone.

By far, Latief said, the search and evacuation mission is still carried out in a manual way, but if there is a request for heavy machinery equipment and other devices, the office would immediately comply with it.

The eruption of the Krakatau Child volcano most likely triggered landslides at the sea bed that culminated to a tsunami, which was emboldened by the effect of full moon at 9:27 p.m. local time (1427 GMT), head of the meteorology and geophysics agency Dwikorita Karnawati said.

"We predicted that the impact could be directly or indirectly, there was a possibility of landslides under the sea bed," she told a press conference on Sunday.

Krakatau Child is one of the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a vast archipelagic nation home to over 17,500 islands and sits on a vulnerable quake-hit zone, the so-called "the Pacific Ring of Fire".

Reuters, Xinhua