Tsunami hits Indonesia without warning, more than 200 dead, Latest World News - The New Paper

Tsunami hits Indonesia without warning, more than 200 dead

This article is more than 12 months old

Survivors recall how they fled for their lives as 'big wave' landed inland

JAKARTA: There was no earthquake. There was no siren. There was only silence as the killer tsunami edged closer to the beaches along Indonesia's Sunda Strait.

The soundless waves gave voice to a tragic roar only as they crashed against the shores and into the unsuspectingvictims.

As of yesterday evening, 222 people have been reported killed, with 843 injured and 28 missing, said Indonesia's national disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, adding that he expected the death toll to rise.

Hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the tsunami, which hit the coast of southern Sumatra and the western tip of Java on Saturday night after a volcano known as the "child" of Krakatoa erupted, Mr Sutopo said.

He added that the size of the tsunami may have been exacerbated by abnormally high tide because of the full moon.

The tsunami left a trail of damaged buildings, uprooted trees and debris strewn across beaches. A tangled mess of corrugated steel roofing, timber and rubble was dragged inland at Carita Beach, a popular spot for day-trippers on the west coast of Java.

Norwegian photographer Oystein Lund Andersen described how he was caught up in the disaster while on the beach taking photos of Anak Krakatoa.

"I suddenly saw a big wave," he wrote on his Facebook account. "I had to run as the wave passed the beach and landed 15-20m inland.

"Next wave entered the hotel area where I was staying and downed cars on the road behind it. Managed to evacuate with my family to higher ground through forest paths and villages, where we are taken care of (by) the locals. We're unharmed, thankfully."

Mr Asep Perangkat said he was with his family when the wave surged through Carita.

"Cars were dragged about 10m and so were containers," he said. "Buildings on the edge of the beach were destroyed, trees and electric poles fell to the ground. "

In Lampung province, on the Sumutra side of the strait, Mr Lutfi Al Rasyid said he fled the beach in Kalianda city, fearing for his life.

"I could not start my motorbike so I left it and I ran... I just prayed and ran as far as I could," the 23-year-old said.

Ms Kathy Mueller from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the toll was likely to rise as the conditions on the ground became clearer.

"The situation and the death toll will remain fluid over the next days and even weeks," she told AFP.

Teams of aid workers were helping to evacuate the injured and bring in clean water, tarpaulins and provide shelter, she added, saying the group was preparing for the possibility of diseases breaking out in the tsunami zone.

Anak Krakatoa, which forms a small island in the Sunda Strait, emerged around 1928 in the crater left by Krakatoa, which erupted in 1883, killing at least 36,000 people.