Christmas tragedy: Holidaymakers caught up in Indonesian tsunami

Publish Date
Sunday, 23 December 2018, 12:26PM
The tsunami occurred in the Sunda Strait. (Photo / Getty)

Indonesia’s disaster management agency says the death toll from a tsunami apparently caused by undersea landslides from a volcanic eruption has risen to 43 with some 600 injured.

Scientists say the tsunami could have been caused by the eruption of Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island formed over years from the nearby Krakatau volcano. They also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon.

The areas that were affected were South Lampung in Sumatra and the Serang and Pandeglang regions of Java, west of the capital Jakarta. The Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean.

World Vision Indonesia's Priscilla Christian says [told The Weekend Collective] the area's a popular holiday destination.

"This is the area for the vacation, so people go there, they have a Christmas holiday, and then this happened."

She says it's too early to know what the recovery effort will look like.

"We are looking at all information, and we plan to send a team to do the assessment there." 

A tweet hours beforehand from Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, who works at the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management, said that the water rushing into buildings was not a tsunami, but just a high tide caused by a the full moon.

The Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Footage posted by the head of the disaster management agency showed the aftermath of flooded streets and an overturned car.

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.

On Boxing Day in 2004 a tsunami generated by a 9.1-9.3 magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries.

It was caused by a rupture along the fault between the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate, with an epicentre off the west coast of northern Sumatra. A series of large tsunamis up to 30m high were created by the underwater seismic activity that became known collectively as the Boxing Day tsunamis.

Communities along the surrounding coasts of the Indian Ocean were seriously affected, and the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh reported the largest number of victims.

The earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, and the third largest ever recorded. It had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between eight and 10 minutes.

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