Fears of new Indonesia tsunami as Anak Krakatau volcano seethes

A man stands on the debris in Carita beach on Christmas Eve

A man stands on the debris in Carita beach on Christmas Eve

The agency said 128 were missing in the disaster, and 1,459 were injured. Yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out, and weeping relatives identified the dead.

Debris from damaged buildings and cars are seen near the beach in Anyer, Serang on December 23, after the area was hit by a tsunami on December 22 following an eruption of the Anak Krakatoa volcano.

Nine hotels along the coast were also damaged.

As long as the volcano remains active, residents should be vigilant, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency.

The vast archipelago nation 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.

Richard Teeuw, a geohazard expert from the University of Portsmouth in England, said the eruption and landslide may well have destabilised the volcano, heightening the risk of another tsunami.

Earthquakes flattened parts of the island of Lombok in July and August, and a double quake-and-tsunami in September killed more than 2,000 people on a remote part of Sulawesi island.

A massive 9.1 magnitude quake on the western coast of Indonesia's Aceh province in northern Sumatra on December 26 triggered a tsunami that struck 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coastline, more than half of them in Aceh. Authorities warned that continued volcanic activity and unusually high tides linked to a full moon meant that a second tsunami remained a possibility. Most of the victims were Indonesian citizens, including many enjoying a pre-Christmas beach getaway not far from the capital Jakarta, but foreigners were also visiting the area.

People collect usable items in debris after Saturday's tsunami in Sumur Indonesia on Christmas Day
People collect usable items in debris after Saturday's tsunami in Sumur Indonesia on Christmas Day. AP

The Indonesian Medical Association said that it sent doctors, medical supplies and equipment, and that numerous injured were in need of orthopedic and neurological surgery.

In a video published on social media networks, a rescue group manages to find a five-year-old boy alive after being trapped for more than 12 hours.

She said many fish storehouses were destroyed along the coast, but that houses made from stone were still standing.

The tsunami was probably caused by the collapse of a big section of the volcano's slope, said Gegar Prasetya, co-founder of the Tsunami Research Center Indonesia.

Some roads were blocked with a combination of debris and traffic caused by the exodus, Reuters reported, although Salbiyah, an aid worker for Catholic Relief Services who uses only one name, said access to affected areas was generally good and food supplies adequate in villages she had visited around Pandeglang.

One team used sniffer dogs to search for survivors at the beach club where a tsunami washed away an outdoor stage where the Indonesian rock band Seventeen were performing at a party for about 200 guests.

Experts warned that more deadly waves could slam the devastated region, as questions swirled over why the killer wave caught a disaster-prone country's monitors completely off guard.

The country's meteorological agency head Dwikorita Karnawati said Anak Krakatoa had been spewing ash and lava for months before a 64-hectare chunk of its south-west side collapsed into the sea. Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area in 1927, and has been growing ever since.

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