Volcanic activity triggers tsunami in Indonesia; at least 281 killed, over 1000 injured and 57 missing

Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said that there was a possibility that data on the victims and damage will increase.


A tsunami struck the coastal areas around Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra and killed at least 222 people on Saturday night, December 22. As per the reports from Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency, published on Sunday, December 23 the incident left 1,016 injured and 57 missing.

Several buildings and homes were heavily damaged because of this tsunami, which was caused by "an undersea landslide resulting from volcanic activity on Anak Krakatau," officials said on Sunday. The tsunami also affected the rim of Sunda Strait late on Saturday and the eruption created a column of volcanic ash up to 500 meters high.

Several footages of the after effect of the tsunami were uploaded online that showed debris from the damaged house, overturned vehicles and fallen trees have blocked the roads.

One of those videos showed how the water washed away an outdoor stage where a local rock band Seventeen was performing. Reports stated that this incident killed at least one musician and others are still missing.

The band said in a statement, "The water washed away the stage which was located very close to the sea" and it "rose and dragged away everyone at the location. We have lost loved ones, including our bassist and manager...and others are missing."

Authorities warned people to keep a safe distance from coastal areas around the Sunda Strait as a high-tide warning remained in place through till December 25. Disaster mitigation agency stated that "The tsunami hit several areas of the Sunda Strait, including beaches in Pandeglang regency, Serang, and South Lampung."

Rahmat Triyono, head of the meteorological agency said, "Please do not be around the beaches around the Sunda Strait. Those who have evacuated, please do not return yet."

As per the disaster mitigation agency, their officials were still gathering information on the disaster and there was a "possibility that data on the victims and damage will increase."

A spokesman from the agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that even though the main reason behind the tsunami is the volcanic activity, it should be noted that the situation became worse due to the high tide because of the current full moon.

Nugroho also told Metro TV that the tsunami triggered by volcanic eruptions were "rare" and "there was no earthquake, and the Anak Krakatau eruption also wasn't that big."

The data collected by Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) stated that the Krakatau erupted at around 9 pm on Saturday night while the tsunami struck at around 9.30 pm.

This article was first published on December 23, 2018