INDONESIA DISASTER AGENCY: TSUNAMI KILLS AT LEAST 20, INJURES 165

23 December 2018

A tsunami struck beaches along Indonesia's Sunda Strait late Saturday local time, killing at least 20 people, injuring 165 and leaving two people missing, the country's disaster agency said in a statement early Sunday.

 

The casualties occurred in three regions — Pandeglang, South Lampung and Serang beaches — along the Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Sumatra, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNBP), said in a statement.

 

The incident occurred about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, local time. The Pandeglang district, West Java, saw the highest death toll, with 14 dead and 150 injured, the statement said. About 43 houses and nine hotels were severely damaged, as were dozens of vehicles, it said. 

The number of casualties was expected to rise because officials had not been able to contact all areas affected by the tsunami, the statement said. A highway connecting Serang and Pandeglang had also been damaged. 

"The cause of the tsunami was due to a combination of undersea landslides after the eruption of Mount Anak Krakatoa and the tidal wave caused by the full moon," according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG). 

Saturday morning, the Indonesian Geological Agency told VOA that they had detected an eruption of Mount Anak Krakatoa, and that "there is a possibility of underwater landslides that [are] triggering a tsunami." 

When VOA contacted the BNPB, however, it replied, "It's not a tsunami, just a tidal wave." BNPB later corrected its statement. In September, at least 832 people were killed by a quake and tsunami that hit the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, which is just east of Borneo.

VOA's Indonesian service contributed to this report.

(Update) Sunda Strait tsunami: Death toll rises to 43; 600 injured.

More updates to come.

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