The toll from the tsunami that struck around Indonesia’s Sunda Strait on December 22 rose to 373 on Monday, AFP quoted the country’s disaster agency as saying. The agency’s spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that 1,459 others were injured, with 128 others reported missing.
Nugroho added that the tsunami damaged or destroyed at least 611 homes, 69 hotels and villas, 60 small shops and 420 boats, The Jakarta Post reported. Rescue efforts are on to locate the missing and the toll is expected to rise further.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday visited Pandeglang, the worst affected province, and toured makeshift health clinics.
Rescue teams used diggers and other heavy equipment to remove debris from the affected areas around the Sunda Strait. The operation is being hindered by blocked roads and rainfall.
“The military and the police are searching the ruins to see if we can find more victims,” said Dody Ruswandi, a senior official at the disaster agency, adding that rescue efforts could possibly last a week.
The country’s public works minister Basuki Hadimuljono said, “It’s already raining heavily and the winds are strong so we’ve only got a short time-frame to evacuate people and clean up.”
‘Collapsing volcano chunk led to tsunami’
Indonesia’s meteorological agency on Monday confirmed that the tsunami was caused after a portion of the volcanic Anak Krakatoa island fell into the ocean, The Guardian reported. The Anak Krakatoa, a small island in the Sunda Strait, is known as the “child of the Krakatoa”. An eruption there in 1883 had killed 36,000 people and had sparked a tsunami that was felt around the world.
The country’s meteorological agency head Dwikorita Karnawati said Anak Krakatoa had been spewing ash and lava for months before a 64-hectare chunk of its south-west side collapsed into the sea. “This caused an underwater landslide and eventually caused the tsunami,” Karnawati said.