Indonesia tsunami Rain hinders search for survivors

12,000 residents have been told to head to higher ground. Image Getty Images
12,000 residents have been told to head to higher ground. Image Getty Images

26 December, 2018

More than 1,400 people were injured, and about 12,000 residents had to move to higher ground, with a high-tide warning extended to Wednesday. Yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out, the Associated Press reported, as weeping relatives identified the dead.

Dozens of filled body bags were hauled away from buildings flattened by Indonesia's volcano-triggered tsunami Monday, as the death toll climbed to 373 and search teams pushed on with the grim hunt for corpses.

According to a conglomeration of agencies, the disaster was the product of multiple triggers: a volcanic eruption causing a 64-hectare (158-acre) chunk of Anak Krakatau to slide off the island volcano and into the ocean during a full moon at high tide.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia Disaster Mitigation Agency, acknowledged on Twitter that the country's network of detection buoys had been out of order since 2012 because of vandalism and budget shortfalls.

- 2006: A 6.8 magnitude quake hit south of Java, Indonesia's most populated island, triggering a tsunami that smashed into the southern coast, killing almost 700 people.

"I heard people shouting to run away, and I saw the water had gone up to the mainland and the hotel had been flooded by water", said Feri Ardian. It said most victims were Indonesian tourists visiting beaches during the long weekend ahead of Christmas.

'Likelihood of further tsunamis in the Sunda Strait remains high' Another tsunami could strike Indonesia, experts warned.

1,500 people have been injured. Image Getty Images
1,500 people have been injured. Image Getty Images

The Indonesian Medical Association said that it sent doctors, medical supplies and equipment, and that numerous injured were in need of orthopedic and neurological surgery.

President Joko Widodo, who is running for reelection in April, also traveled to the area by helicopter Monday and said he had instructed the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency to buy an early warning alert system.

The tsunami "appears to have been caused by an underwater collapse" of part of the volcano, said David Rothery, a professor of planetary geosciences at Britain's Open University.

Food, water, blankets, and medical aid are trickling into remote areas via inland roads choked with traffic. "I jumped over the wall", she said.

There was so little warning that an Indonesia rock band, Seventeen, was swept from the stage just as it was beginning a song at a year-end party for a state-owned electricity company, held under a tent on the beach.

Experts warned that more deadly waves could slam the devastated region after Saturday night's disaster, as questions swirled over why the killer wave caught a disaster-prone country's monitors completely off guard. North of the Strait, the impact has also been significant with at least 75 people killed and 22 missing in the province of Lampung, south Sumatra. Apart from the Sulawesi tsunami, an quake killed 505 people on the island of Lombok in August, and a Lion Air plane plunged into the ocean in October, killing all 189 people on board.

Anak Krakatau was erupting again on Sunday, spewing ash and smoke. The volcano's name means "Child of Krakatau", the island rising from the sea only in 1927, after one of the largest, most devastating eruptions in recorded history occurred at the original Krakatau volcano in 1883.

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