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Tsunami Hits Indonesia Killing Nearly 300 and Injured About 1000

Hundreds of people have been killed and injured after a tsunami struck tourist beaches and coastal areas around Indonesia’s Sunda Strait on Saturday night.

“It’s messy outside and we still cannot access the road.” The tsunami, which struck at about 9.30pm local time on Saturday, is believed to have been caused by undersea landslides that followed a volcanic eruption on Anak Krakatoa, since there were no significant seismic tremors to indicate a tsunami was coming.

Ben van der Pluijm, an earthquake geologist and a professor in the University of Michigan, said the tsunami may have been caused by a partial collapse of Anak Krakatau.

“Instability of the slope of an active volcano can create a rock slide that moves a large volume of water, creating local tsunami waves that can be very powerful. This is like suddenly dropping a bag of sand in a tub filled with water,” he said.

The disaster agency said the size of the tsunami may have been exacerbated by an abnormally high tide because of the full moon.

According to a statement from Indonesia’s meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency, “The tsunami hit several areas of the Sunda Strait, including beaches in Pandeglang regency, Serang, and South Lampung”.

The BBC reported that footage posted by the head of communications for the disaster agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, showed the aftermath of the tsunami, with flooded streets and an overturned car.

The disaster mitigation agency said it was still compiling information on the tsunami’s impact and that there was a “Possibility that data on the victims and damage will increase”.

The agency added: “Heavy equipment is being deployed to assist in evacuation and emergency repairs. BMKG and the Geological Agency are carrying out studies to ascertain the causes of the tsunamis and possible follow-up.” Authorities have warned residents and tourists in coastal areas around the Sunda Strait to stay away from beaches, and a high-tide warning would remain in place until 25 December.

Indonesia sits on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of fire” and is regularly hit by earthquakes and tsunamis.

In September, at least 832 people were killed by a quake and tsunami that hit the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, which is just east of Borneo.

In 2004, a tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra killed 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia.

SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/22/multiple-fatalities-as-tsunami-hits-beaches-in-indonesia

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