Vatican News
Rescuers and residents look for survivors along the coast in South Lampung on South Sumatra Rescuers and residents look for survivors along the coast in South Lampung on South Sumatra  (AFP or licensors)

Deadly tsunami strikes Indonesia's coast

At least 220 people were killed on the coast of Indonesia when a volcano eruption triggered a tsunami. The wave swept inland, destroying homes and infrastructure.


By Alastair Wanklyn

The tsunami struck in the evening local time, shortly after a volcano erupted offshore. The activity on Krakatoa island either pushed up the sea bed or triggered underwater landslides, sending a wall of water towards the coast.

The wave struck seafront towns and villages on the islands of Java and Sumatra. One survivor said he clung to a fence as the water surged past. He feared he would be swept out to sea when the tsunami receded.

A spokesman for Indonesia's disasters agency was quoted saying Indonesia lacks a warning system for volcanic eruptions. There was no alarm, he said, because there was no earthquake. Tsunami sensors are located where tectonic plates meet.

Indonesia regularly suffers natural disasters. In September an earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi, killing more than 2,000 people.

And Krakatoa, the volcano that erupted on Saturday, killed tens of thousands of people when it first erupted, in the 1880s.

International aid agencies said they are sending food and shelter materials.

But for residents the threat is not over yet. Indonesia's meteorological agency said the volcano on Krakatoa is still erupting, and further tsunamis are possible.

Listen to the report by Alastair Wanklyn
23 December 2018, 17:14