Indonesia Tsunami: Rain hinders search for survivors

Indonesia Tsunami: Rain hinders search for survivors

Jakarta: Days of heavy rain on Indonesia’s Java coast was making it difficult on Tuesday for search and rescue teams looking for survivors of the Sunda Strait tsunami. The emergency teams were scouring about 100 kilometers of coastline in search of survivors trapped in the debris caused by Saturday’s tsunami, which killed at least 373 people, injured 1,459 and left 128 missing.

The most affected area is Pandeglang on the northwestern tip of Java, where 267 people lost their lives, 1,143 were injured and 38 remain missing, Efe reported. In this tourist area, many were celebrating the holiday period when they were hit by the waves in the absence of emergency warnings. Helped with dogs and heavy machinery, troops were combing through every pile of iron and wood that were once homes and market stalls of local residents before they were struck by waves 2 to 3 meters high.

In a video published on social media networks, a rescue group manages to find a five-year-old boy alive after being trapped for more than 12 hours. On Monday, two days after the tsunami, rescuers managed to gain access to the town of Sumur, where 36 dead and 476 wounded were reported. North of the Strait, the impact has also been significant with at least 75 people killed and 22 missing in the province of Lampung, south Sumatra.

The authorities blame the tsunami on the collapse of part of Anak Krakatau volcano after it erupted in the Sunda Strait. The National Agency for Disaster Management said Indonesia does not have tsunami warning systems that are triggered by volcanic activity, and that buoys in place to detect a sudden rise in wave height after earthquakes do not work due to vandalism, lack of maintenance and funding.

Wednesday marks the anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami that hit northern Sumatra and another 14 countries on December 26, 2004, leaving 226,500 dead and missing, mostly in Indonesia. Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken every year by some 7,000 earthquakes, most of them moderate.


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