Number of people injured by tsunami soars to 7,200

An aerial view of a tsunami-hit area of Way Muli village in Rajabasa, South Lampung. Nearly 1,300 homes were destroyed after waves up to 5m high crashed into the coastlines of western Java Island and South Sumatra.
An aerial view of a tsunami-hit area of Way Muli village in Rajabasa, South Lampung. Nearly 1,300 homes were destroyed after waves up to 5m high crashed into the coastlines of western Java Island and South Sumatra.PHOTO: REUTERS

Figure up from below 1,500 even as death toll is trimmed to 426; quake rattles West Papua

JAKARTA • The number of people evacuated after Indonesia's deadly tsunami has nearly doubled to some 40,000, while more than 7,000 were injured in the disaster, officials said yesterday as they trimmed the official death toll.

The authorities said 426 people had been killed - down from a previous tally of 430 - with double-counting by different districts blamed for the change. Two dozen people remain missing almost a week after the disaster.

The fresh figures come a day after Indonesia's disaster management agency raised the danger alert level for an erupting volcano that sparked the killer tsunami at the weekend.

It also warned that fresh activity at the crater threatened to trigger another deadly wave.

Previously, the number of displaced - including many left homeless - stood at 22,000, but that figure has now jumped to just over 40,000, according to the latest tally.

Some 7,202 people suffered injuries, jumping from 1,495, while nearly 1,300 homes were destroyed as waves up to 5m-high crashed into the coastlines of western Java Island and South Sumatra, the authorities said.

"We are recommending that people who lived near the beach be permanently relocated," national disaster management agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a press briefing in Jakarta. "But it is a last-ditch option because it is not easy with limited space and people reluctant to move away."


A rescue team that came upon a giant sea turtle trapped under a pile of marine trash after the tsunami
carrying the animal back to sea at Lampung, on Sumatra Island, on Thursday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-
PRESSE

A no-go zone around the rumbling Anak Krakatau has been widened to 5km - up from a previous 2km - with residents warned to stay away from the coast.

The crater's status has been raised to high alert, the second-highest warning on Indonesia's four-point danger scale.

Flights are being redirected away from the area.

A section of the crater - which emerged at the site of the Krakatau volcano, whose massive 1883 eruption killed at least 36,000 people - collapsed after an eruption and slid into the ocean, triggering last Saturday night's killer waves.

Before and after satellite images taken by Japan's space agency showed that a 2 sq km chunk of the volcanic island had collapsed into the water.

Yesterday, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua, the United States Geological Survey said, causing some residents to panic.

The Indonesian authorities measured the quake as having a magnitude of 6.1, and said it was "felt quite strongly for several seconds".

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The region in Papua, which makes up half the island known as New Guinea, is sparsely populated.

The epicentre of the quake was on land near the city of Manokwari at a depth of 55km. The Indonesian meteorological agency said that it did not have the potential to trigger a tsunami.

Indonesia, a vast South-east Asian archipelago, is one of the most disaster-hit nations on earth due to its position straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2018, with the headline 'Number of people injured by tsunami soars to 7,200'. Print Edition | Subscribe