Indonesia tsunami hits Sunda Strait after Krakatoa eruption

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

On Saturday, a tsunami struck Indonesia's Sunda Strait coastline at around 21:30 local time (1430 UTC). Indonesian officals suggested it was caused by an undersea landslide that followed the recent eruptions of Anak Krakatoa, later receiving support from geological experts.

Soldiers on-scene as rescue efforts continue.
Image: Indonesian National Armed Forces.

The BBC reported on Sunday 222 dead and 843 injured, with Indonesian government officials saying the numbers were likely to rise further. NPR reported at least 281 killed; more recently The Guardian gave a minimum death toll of 373. Early reports indicated the wave was about 3–7 feet (1–2 meters) high. No earthquake accompanied it; victims had no warning before the surge arrived.

On Sunday a tsunami warning siren went off accidentally, causing panic because of the false alarm. The affected area incorporates Java and Sumatra, the nation's most populous islands. The Sunda Strait forms a link between the Java Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The International Federation of the Red Cross said on Sunday it was on the scene working to support survivors and locate the deceased. President Joko Widodo spoke of his sadness at the disaster.

Three months ago a tsunami hit Sulawesi, causing thousands of deaths. A 2004 tsunami that hit thirteen nations killed over 220,000 with Indonesia the worst affected. The island nation is in an area of high tectonic activity known as the Ring of Fire, making earthquakes and tsunamis relatively common.