Tsunami kills at least 429 in Indonesia; over 150 missing

PANDEGLANG, Indonesia – The death toll from a tsunami that struck coastal areas around the narrow strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra over the weekend has reached 429, with 154 others still missing, Indonesia’s disaster management agency said Tuesday.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 1,485 people were injured in Saturday night’s tsunami in the regencies of Pandeglang and Serang in Banten Province, on the western tip of Java, and in three regencies in Lampung Province, on the southern tip of Sumatra.

“The casualties may keep increasing…because there are some districts that have not been reachable due to damaged roads and collapsed bridges,” Sutopo said, adding the tsunami has displaced 16,082 people and damaged 882 houses, 73 hotels and villas, 60 food stalls and restaurants, and 429 boats.

Hundreds of homes and other buildings were “heavily damaged” after struck by the tsunami following an underwater landslide believed caused by the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano.

Pandeglang, Serang and South Lampung on the island of Java were the hardest-hit regions, according to authorities. The regions are a few hours west of the capital city of Jakarta with its population of almost 10 million people.

Krakatau, a volcano located between the islands of Java and Sumatra, is known for the historic eruption in 1883 that blew the island apart and killed 30,000 people, but it has erupted regularly since.

The timing of the tsunami, over the Christmas holiday season, evoked memories of the Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake on Dec. 26 in 2004, which killed 226,000 people in 14 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

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