Death toll in Java-Sumatra tsunami reaches 281. Experts warn of another possible tsunami
by Mathias Hariyadi
Five districts have been affected – Pandeglang, Serang, South Lampung, Tanggamus and Pesawaran – all in Banten and Lampung provinces. Vandalism, limitation of funds and technical difficulties caused the warning system to fail. The activity of the Anak Krakatau could trigger further submarine landslides.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The death toll from the tsunami that yesterday struck tourist resorts in the Sanda Strait, between Java and Sumatra, rose to 281 (207 in Pandeglang alone). The injured number 1,106, with 57 missing and 11,687 displaced, this according to the latest reports from Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB).
"The number of victims and damage will continue to rise," a BNPB spokesperson said. International experts warn that another tsunami cannot be ruled out.
The tsunami affected five districts: Pandeglang, Serang, South Lampung, Tanggamus and Pesawaran. All of them are in Banten and Lampung provinces.
Damages have also been reported in Panimbang Beach, Tanjung Lesung Beach, Teluk Lada Beach and Sumur Beach.
Most of the casualties were staying at Mutiara Hotel Carita Cottage, Sambolo Village and Tanjung Lesung Hotel.
The unexpected tsunami was caused by an eruption and a landslide of 640,000 square metres on Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa), a volcanic island.
Residents in South Lampung, Anyer Beach and Pandenglang did not receive any warning from local authorities about possible seismic sea waves.
“Vandalism, limitation of funds, [and] technical difficulties have led to the absence of functional tsunami buoys,” said BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
Bad weather has made rescue work more difficult. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from Pandeglang.
As volcanic activity continues, experts do not rule out the possibility of another tsunami in the Sunda Strait.
"The likelihood of further tsunamis in the Sunda Strait will remain high while Anak Krakatoa volcano is going through its current active phase because that might trigger further submarine landslides," said Richard Teeuw of the University of Portsmouth in England.
Jacques-Marie Bardintzeff of the University of Paris-South warns that "we must be wary now that the volcano has been destabilised".
President Joko Widodo who is still in a remote area of Banggai in Central Sulawesi has told Social Affairs Minister and Indonesian Armed Forces Commander Air Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto to monitor the situation on the ground and provide emergency aid.
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