Indonesian Tsunami Death Toll Tops 400 With Thousands Displaced
(Bloomberg) -- The death toll from a tsunami along Indonesia’s Sunda Strait exceeded 400 as rescuers scour through the wreckage of hundreds of hotels and houses flattened by the deadly wave.
At least 16,000 people have been displaced and about 1,500 were injured after the tsunami struck the Indonesian provinces Lampung and Banten late on Saturday, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Damage to infrastructure is complicating searches in several areas and the number of fatalities could rise from 429 as efforts persist, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said in a statement.
The government has set a 14-day emergency response period for Pandeglang, a regency in Banten province, which was the worst-hit, Nugroho told reporters in Jakarta on Tuesday. South Lampung will have a seven-day one, he said.
The calamity was likely triggered by flank collapse -- where a section of the volcano gives way -- in the south and southwest sides of Mount Anak Krakatau, according to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation. Further investigations and analyses are being carried out to see if other factors may have played a role.
The tsunami hit Tanjung Lesung, a surfing haven in the western-most part of the Java island that’s been branded a new Bali by President Joko Widodo’s administration. Three to four hours from capital Jakarta, Tanjung Lesung shares its coastline with Ujung Kulon National Park, and is located near factories of state-owned steelmaker PT Krakatau Steel and PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical.
The latest in a series of natural disasters to strike Southeast Asia’s largest economy this year is set to pose a fresh challenge for Widodo as he works to assist the thousands of people displaced amid a presidential election campaign. The tsunami, coming ahead of the peak holiday season, may also hurt the all-important tourism industry and weigh on the nation’s currency, among the worst performers in Asia this year.
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