Asia - Pacific

Indonesia: Sunda Strait tsunami death toll rises to 281

Number of injured from tsunami apparently caused by volcanic eruption increased to 1,016, according to disaster agency

Indonesia: Sunda Strait tsunami death toll rises to 281 A number of buildings and vehicles are seen damaged due to being hit by a tsunami wave that hit the Pandeglang, Serang, South Lampung and Tanggamus Regencies. on December 23, 2018, in Banten, Indonesia. ( Eko Siswono Toyudho - Anadolu Agency )

By Dandy Koswaraputra

JAKARTA, Indonesia

The death toll from Saturday’s tsunami on Indonesia’s Sunda Strait has risen to 281, the national disaster agency said on Monday.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Management Agency, said in a statement that the number of injured topped 1,016 in the tsunami -- likely to be triggered by a volcanic eruption.

A least 57 people are still missing, Nugroho said, adding 611 houses and many buildings were damaged after the tsunami -- which mostly affected the Pandenglang, South Lampung and Serang areas.

"In Pandeglang district, 207 people died, 755 people were injured, 7 people were missing, and 11,453 people were displaced,” said the statement.

Most of the victims were found at Mutiara Hotel Carita Cottage, Tanjung Lesung Hotel and Sambolo Village, it added.

"In Serang District, 12 people died, 30 people were injured and 28 people were missing,”it added.

The tsunami also damaged some 70 hotels and villas, 60 food stalls and shops, 350 boats and ships, and 71 vehicles.

The coastal areas along the Carita Beach, Panimbang Beach, Teluk Lada Beach, Sumur Beach, and Tanjung Lesung Beach were severely damaged, according to the agency official.

In an earlier statement, Nugroho said that the death toll may still increase as not all affected areas were recorded.

Emergency teams were dispatched to the disaster-hit area while heavy equipment was also deployed to assist evacuation and emergency repairs, Nugroho said. 

According to Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency, the tsunami could have been triggered by undersea landslides after the eruption of Anak Krakatau.

The agency said the tsunami struck around 24 minutes after the volcanic eruption. 

Indonesia lies within the Pacific Ocean’s "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide and cause frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Last September, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake had struck the country's Sulawesi Island, which triggered a tsunami in the cities of Donggala and Palu that towered up to 10 feet (3 meters) high, killing over 2,000 people.

On Dec. 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake struck the eastern coast of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that killed around 230,000 people as it tore along the coasts of Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

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