Casualty figures from Saturday night's deadly volcano tsunami in Indonesia continued to rise on Monday, with at least 373 people confirmed dead and more than 1,400 injured. The death toll was certain to rise further, with 128 people still missing from the affected areas along the coastlines of western Java and southern Sumatra islands, where hundreds of military personnel and volunteers were conducting their grim search along debris-strewn beaches.
The waves that swept locals and tourists into the sea along the Sunda Strait followed an eruption and apparent landslide on Anak Krakatau, or “Child of Krakatoa,” one of the world’s most infamous volcanic islands.
Hotels and hundreds of homes were heavily damaged by the waves. Broken chunks of concrete and splintered sticks of wood littered hard-hit coastal areas, turning popular beach areas into near ghost towns. Debris from thatch-bamboo shacks was strewn along the coast.
According to the authorities, most victims are domestic tourists who were visiting beaches during the long weekend ahead of Christmas.
It was the second deadly tsunami to hit seismically active Indonesia this year. A powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit Sulawesi island in September, giving residents a brief warning before the waves struck. But in the recent tragedy, neither the ground shook nor any radar gave out tsunami warning.
But the head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, said Monday that the tsunami was caused by Krakatau’s volcanic activity, so could not have been picked up by her agency’s sensors, which monitor the conventional tectonic earthquakes that are responsible for more than 90 per cent of Indonesia’s tsunamis.
With Anak Krakatau still erupting, she warned people to avoid activities around coastal areas in the coming days.
(With AP inputs)