Indonesia: Tsunami Leaves At least 222 Dead, 843 Injured


At least 222 people have been killed and 843 injured after a tsunami hit coastal towns on Indonesia’s Sunda Strait, government officials say.

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

The volcano that apparently triggered a deadly tsunami in Indonesia late Saturday emerged from the sea around the legendary Krakatoa 90 years ago and has been on a high-level eruption watchlist for the past decade.

Hundreds of homes and other buildings were “heavily damaged” when the tsunami struck, almost without warning, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said.

Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate to higher ground. By 5:40 p.m. (1040 GMT), the disaster agency had raised the death toll to 222, with 843 injured and 28 missing.

The deadly wave was believed to have been triggered by an underwater landslide from volcanic eruptions and comes three months after more than 2500 people were killed by an earthquake and tsunami which hit the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi.

BPBD together with the military, police, the national search and rescue agency (Basarnas), local government office, Ministry of Social Welfare Volunteers (Tagana), Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), volunteers and the community are providing emergency response support to the affected people.

A few days back, Frank Hoogerbeets, a self-proclaimed seismic researcher had predicted that the earth will be hit by a series of earthquakes during the Christmas period. The researcher who runs the website ‘Ditrianum’ also added that it is a rare planetary alignment which is resulting in these elevated seismic activities.

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expressed his sympathy and ordered government agencies to respond quickly to the disaster.

“My deep condolences to the victims in Banten and Lumpung provinces,” he said. “Hopefully, those who are left have patience.”

At the Vatican, Pope Francis prayed for the dead, the missing and the homeless in Indonesia, telling tourists and pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square that his thoughts were with victims “struck by violent natural calamities.”

C.P & S.H.D.