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Dozens Dead as Tsunami Hits Sunda Strait

A tsunami apparently caused by the eruption of an island volcano killed at least 43 people after the waves hit the coast around Indonesia’s Sunda Strait particularly in South Lampung, as well as Pandenglang and Serang in Banten, sending a wall of water some 20 metres inland and damaging hundreds of houses including hotels, the government and witnesses said.

Some 600 people have been reported injured when the tsunami hit about 9:27pm Saturday, the Disaster Management Agency said.

TV footage showed roads blocked by debris from damaged houses, overturned cars and fallen trees. The water washed away an outdoor stage where a local rock band was performing, killing at least one musician. Others were missing.

“Please do not be around the beaches around the Sunda Strait. Those who have evacuated, please do not return yet,” said Rahmat Triyono, head of the meteorological agency. The warning will remain in place at least until December 25.

Scientists from Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics agency said it could have been caused by undersea landslides from the eruption of Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island formed over years from the nearby Krakatau volcano. They also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon.

“There was no earthquake, and the Anak Krakatau eruption also wasn’t that big,” Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told Metro TV, noting there were no “significant” seismic tremors to indicate a tsunami was coming.

The eruption created a column of volcanic ash up to 500 metres high.

Physical losses included 430 heavily damaged homes, nine heavily damaged hotels and 10 heavily damaged vessels. Footage posted by the head of the disaster agency showed the aftermath of flooded streets and an overturned car.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

Photo: Tempo

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