A tsunami wave hit the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra on late Saturday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said on Sunday morning with the total number of victims rapidly increasing as more injured and dead people are being discovered.
Indonesia Centre of Vulcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation ((PVMBG) said it has previously recorded continuous tremors of an overscale amplitude of 58 millimeters and an eruption of Mount Anak Krakatau at 09.03 p.m. on Saturday.
On December 22 Mt Anak Krakatau erupted and spewed a 300-1,500-meter high of smoke. However, the PVMBG recorded that the tremors did not spark any high waves nor tsunami in the strait. PVMBG experts explained that a huge energy would be necessary to ignite a tsunami, and the seismograph in the volcano monitoring post did not detect such movement. Therefore, it would need further study on the connection between the volcano`s activity and the tsunami, declared the agency. However, other experts estimated that the volcano eruption provoked the rise of waters in the Sunda Strait.
The BNPB gave on Sunday afternoon some facts about the extend of the damages and the total number of victims.” The tsunami has claimed lives and caused damages.
In the afternoon, new numbers communicated by the agency indicated that the death toll of the Sunda Strait tsunami has increased to 222 people as of 04.00 p.m. on Sunday. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said there was no foreigners among the dead victims of Saturday`s tsunami that hit coastal areas around the Sunda strait.
BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho made the remarks, adding that 843 had been injured, and 28 others went missing, while 556 houses, nine hotels, 350 ships and 60 culinary stalls were damaged.
The Merak, Bakauheni ports were however not affected by the tsunami and continue to have a normal activity highlighted the ministry of transport office of Land Transportation Operator (BPTD). The ferry route is the most important for passengers travelling from Java to Sumatra. As many as 31 ferries have been operated in the Merak-Bakauheni route to serve holidaymakers during Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The most affected areas were the districts of Pandeglang, Serang in the province of Banten in Western Java as well as in South Lampung and Tanggamus in Southern Sumatra.
“The number of victims and damages might increase as data collection has yet to cover all affected regions,” Sutopo said.
He said, the worst-hit areas in the beaches of Tanjung Lesung, Sumur, Lada Bay, Panimbang and Carita are known as housing and tourist destination areas.
“We are preparing an air survey and mapping with the help of the Indonesian military. NPB will also deploy a helicopter,” he added.
(Partial source: ANTARA News)