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220 dead, 843 injured in Indonesia tsunami

Carita, Sunday

A volcano-triggered tsunami has left at least 222 people dead and hundreds more injured after slamming without warning into beaches around Indonesia’s Sunda Strait, officials said today, voicing fears that the toll would rise further.

Hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the wave, which hit the coast of southern Sumatra and the western tip of Java about 9:30 pm (1430 GMT) on Saturday after a volcano known as the “child” of Krakatoa erupted, national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Scouring rubble

Dramatic video posted on social media showed a wall of water suddenly crashing into a concert by pop group “Seventeen” — hurling band members off the stage and then flooding into the audience.

In a tearful Instagram post, frontman Riefian Fajarsyah said the band’s bassist and road manager had been killed and his wife was missing. Search and rescue teams were scouring rubble for survivors, with 222 people confirmed dead, 843 people injured and 28 missing, Nugroho said. Tsunamis triggered by volcanic eruptions are relatively rare, caused by the sudden displacement of water or “slope failure”, according to the International Tsunami Information Centre.

Unlike those caused by earthquakes, which trigger alert systems, they give authorities very little time to warn residents of the impending threat.

The destructive wave left a trail of uprooted trees and debris strewn across beaches. A tangled mess of corrugated steel roofing, timber and rubble were dragged inland at Carita beach, a popular spot for day-trippers on the west coast of Java.

Photographer Oystein Andersen described how he was caught up in the disaster while on the beach taking photos of Anak Krakatoa.

“I suddenly saw a big wave,” he wrote on his Facebook page. The International Federation of Red Cross said the “powerful waves” reached a height of 30-90 centimetres (1-3 feet).  -AFP

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