Indonesian volcano Anak Krakatau erupts again amid fears of another tsunami

Elias Hubbard
December 24, 2018

The powerful tsunami struck without any warning on Saturday night, sweeping over popular beaches of southern Sumatra and the western tip of Java and inundating tourist hotels and coastal settlements.

Nugroho said 164 people were killed in the district, with 446 houses, nine hotels, 350 vessels and boats and 73 vehicles badly damaged.

Authorities warned residents and tourists in coastal areas around the Sunda Strait to stay away from beaches and a high-tide warning remained in place through December 25. The road into Pandeglang was seriously damaged, hampering rescue and recovery efforts.

Authorities warned the death toll could rise as they widened searches and treated almost 850 people injured by the three-foot surge of water from the Sunda Strait, off the western tip of Java island about 96km from Jakarta.

Rahmat Triyono, an official at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, said: "Those who have evacuated, please do not return yet".

Anak Krakatoa is a small volcanic island that emerged from the ocean half a century after Krakatoa's deadly 1883 eruption.

President Widodo, who faces what promises to be a tough re-election campaign next year, responded Monday to the lack of any warning of the disaster with a vow to have all equipment used for detection of tsunamis replaced or repaired.

But, he added, with 13% of the world's volcanoes in Indonesia alone, it was crucial for the country to develop such system.

The tsunami was caused by "an undersea landslide resulting from volcanic activity on Anak Krakatau" and was exacerbated by abnormally high tide because of the full moon, disaster agency spokesperson Nugroho said.

Why was Saturday's tsunami so deadly?

An quake also struck the country less than 24 hours after the tsunami.

Video footage shared on social media showed partygoers enjoying the music and then screaming as the waves crashed into the stage and band members were swept away.

How did the tsunami happen?

"The fact that there was no major natural disaster means that whatever caused the tsunami near Krakatau put most of its energy into the water rather than into the ground".

In other words, it's been part of the background. The mechanism as ever is the displacement of a large volume of water. This would have sent millions of tonnes of rocky debris into the sea, pushing out waves in all directions.

Gegar Prasetya, co-founder of the Tsunami Research Center Indonesia, said Saturday's tsunami was likely caused by a flank collapse - when a big section of a volcano's slope gives way.

Indonesia is often struck by tsunamis because it lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is 25,000 miles-long and is known for its chain of volcanoes.

The tsunami gushed ashore without warning on Indonesian islands, killing at least 281 people on a busy holiday weekend.

However, tsunamis caused by volcanic activity like this are less frequent.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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