Update: Death Toll From Indonesia Tsunami Rises To 280
Death toll from a tsunami that hit the Indonesian islands of Java and
Sumatra after the Anak Krakatau volcano erupted, has risen to at least
280 officials said.
They added that rescuers are using heavy machinery and their bare
hands to search for more victims. Hundreds more were injured when the
tsunami struck, almost without warning, along the rim of the Sunda
Strait late on Saturday.
Over 3,000 coastal residents were forced to evacuate to higher
ground, with a high-tide warning in place until Tuesday. The vast
archipelago, which sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, has suffered its
worst annual death toll from disasters in more than a decade.
Earthquakes flattened parts of the tourist island of Lombok in July
and August, and a double quake-and-tsunami killed more than 2,000 people
on Sulawesi island in September. Search and rescue officials used their
bare hands and some heavy machinery to clear the remains of buildings
Indonesia’s disaster agency had put the death toll at 222 on Sunday,
with about 850 injured and 28 people missing, but raised it to 280 early
on Monday. A disaster mitigation agency official in Banten province
named Jhony told reporters most victims were Indonesian holidaymakers.
The timing of the tsunami over the Christmas holiday season evoked
memories of the Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake on Dec.
26, 2004, which killed 226,000 people in 14 countries, including more
than 120,000 in Indonesia.