The Washington Nigerian Times
Nigeria's International News Page.

Death toll from Indonesia tsunami hits 168

12

A volcano-triggered tsunami has left at least 168 people dead and hundreds more injured after slamming without warning into beaches around Indonesia’s Sunda Strait, officials said on Sunday, voicing fears that the toll was set to rise.

Hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the wave, which hit the coast of southern Sumatra and the western tip of Java about 9:30 pm (1430 GMT) on Saturday after a volcano known as the “child” of Krakatoa erupted, national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Dramatic video posted on social media showed a wall of water suddenly crashing into a concert by pop group “Seventeen” — hurling band members off the stage and then flooding into the audience.

In a tearful Instagram post, frontman Riefian Fajarsyah said the band’s bassist and road manager had been killed and his wife was missing.

Search and rescue teams were scouring rubble for survivors, with 168 people confirmed dead, 745 people injured and 30 reported missing across three regions, Nugroho said.

Search and rescue teams were scouring rubble for survivors, with 168 people confirmed dead, 745 people injured and 30 reported missing across three regions, Nugroho said.

Tsunamis triggered by volcanic eruptions are relatively rare, caused by the sudden displacement of water or “slope failure”, according to the International Tsunami Information Centre.

Unlike those triggered by earthquakes, they give authorities no time to warn residents of the impending threat.

The destructive wave left a trail of uprooted trees and debris strewn across beaches. A tangled mess of corrugated steel roofing, timber and rubble were dragged inland at Carita beach, a popular spot for day-trippers on the west coast of Java.

Photographer Oystein Andersen described how he was caught up in the disaster while on the beach taking photos of Anak Krakatoa.

“I suddenly saw a big wave,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

“I had to run, as the wave passed the beach and landed 15-20m inland. (The) next wave entered the hotel area where I was staying and downed cars on the road behind it.”

Asep Perangkat said he was with his family when the wave surged through Carita, carving a swathe of destruction.

“Cars were dragged about 10 metres and so were containers,” Perangkat told AFP.

“Buildings on the edge of the beach were destroyed, trees and electric poles fell to the ground.

In Lampung province, on the other side of the strait, Lutfi Al Rasyid said he fled the beach in Kalianda city, fearing for his life.

“I could not start my motorbike so I left it and I ran… I just prayed and ran as far as I could,” the 23-year-old told AFP.

Kathy Mueller from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the toll was likely to rise as the conditions on the ground became clearer.

“The situation and the death toll will remain fluid over the next days and even weeks,” she told AFP.

Teams of aid workers were helping to evacuate the injured and bring in clean water, tarpaulins and provide shelter, she added, saying the group was preparing for the possibility of diseases breaking out in the tsunami zone.

Comments are closed.