Sunday 22 September 2019

Prayers said for Indonesia tsunami victims after more than 420 left dead, thousands homeless

A tsunami survivor sits on a pice of debris as she salvages items from the location of her house in Sumur, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)
A tsunami survivor sits on a pice of debris as she salvages items from the location of her house in Sumur, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)

Niniek Karmini

Sombre prayers were being said for tsunami victims in an area devastated by waves that hit without warning, killing more than 420 people and leaving thousands homeless in disaster-prone Indonesia.

Pastor Markus Taekz said his Rahmat Pentecostal Church in the hard-hit area of Carita did not celebrate Christmas with joyous songs.

Instead, he said only about 100 people showed up for the Christmas Eve service, usually attended by double that number.

Many congregation members had already left the area for the capital, Jakarta, or other locations away from the disaster zone.

"This is an unusual situation because we have a very bad disaster that killed hundreds of our sisters and brothers in Banten," he said, referring to the Javanese province.

"So our celebration is full of grief."

Church leaders called on Christians across Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, to pray for victims of the tsunami.

The death toll had climbed to 429 on Tuesday with more than 1,400 people injured and at least 128 missing after the tsunami slammed into parts of western Java and southern Sumatra islands, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia Disaster Mitigation Agency.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Military troops, government personnel and volunteers were searching along debris-strewn beaches.

Where victims were found, yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out, and weeping relatives identified the dead.

Residents search for victims among the ruins of collapsed houses after the area was hit by a tsunami at Carita beach in Padeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, Decemnber 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Asep Fathulrahman/ via REUTERS
Residents search for victims among the ruins of collapsed houses after the area was hit by a tsunami at Carita beach in Padeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, Decemnber 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Asep Fathulrahman/ via REUTERS
Residents injured by a tsunami are treated outside a health center in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Basarnas/ via REUTERS
A resident searches for items among the ruins of a villa after the area was hit by a tsunami, at Carita beach in Padeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, Decemnber 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Asep Fathulrahman/ via REUTERS
Residents inspect body bags as they search for family members outside a local health center following a tsunami at Panimbang district in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018. REUTERS/Adi Kurniawan
A resident injured by a tsunami is treated at a health center in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Basarnas/ via REUTERS
Residents collect debris from their collapsed house after it was hit by a tsunami at Panimbang district in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas/ via REUTERS
Residents collect debris from their collapsed house after it was hit by a tsunami at Panimbang district in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas/ via REUTERS
Residents walk past a house damaged by a tsunami, in Carita, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dian Triyuli Handoko)
A man inspects his house which was damaged by a tsunami, in Carita, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dian Triyuli Handoko)
Cars are covered by debris at an area ravaged by a tsunami, in Carita, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018.(AP Photo/Dian Triyuli Handoko)
A house is seen damaged by a tsunami, in Carita, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dian Triyuli Handoko)
A soldier examines as he takes care of a local resident who was injured following a tsunami which hit at Tanjung Lesung district in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas/ via REUTERS
A local walks near her damaged house hit by tsunami at Tanjung Lesung district in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas/ via REUTERS
A house and a small shop is seen after hit by tsunami at Tanjung Lesung district in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas/ via REUTERS
A soldier examines as he takes care of a local resident who was injured following a tsunami which hit at Tanjung Lesung district in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas/ via REUTERS

Chunks of broken concrete and splintered wood littered the coast where hundreds of homes and hotels had stood.

The waves followed an eruption and apparent landslide on Anak Krakatau, or Child of Krakatoa, a volcanic island that formed in the early part of the 20th century near the site of the cataclysmic 1883 eruption of Krakatoa.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who faces what promises to be a tough re-election campaign next year, vowed to have all tsunami-detection equipment replaced or repaired.

 

Indonesian soldiers load the body of a tsunami victim into an ambulance at Tanjung Lesung beach resort, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Indonesian soldiers load the body of a tsunami victim into an ambulance at Tanjung Lesung beach resort, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
A view of Tanjung Lesung beach resort after Saturday's tsunami in Tanjung Lesung, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
A police officer carries his K9 unit search dog as they continue to search for victims following a tsunami around a beach hotel in Tanjung Lesung, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Indonesian soldiers search the bodies of tsunami victims at Tanjung Lesung beach resort, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Indonesian soldiers carry the bodies of tsunami victims at Tanjung Lesung beach, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Indonesian soldiers and rescuers search the bodies of tsunami victims at Tanjung Lesung beach, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
People inspect the damage at a tsunami-ravaged village in Sumur, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)
An aerial view of an affected area after a tsunami hit the coast of Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 24, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/HO-Susi Air/via REUTERS.
A man makes his way past a house badly damaged by a tsunami in Sumur, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)
People inspect the damage at a tsunami-ravaged village in Sumur, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)
Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Silva
A tsunami survivor sits on a pice of debris as she salvages items from the location of her house in Sumur, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)
A man sits on a piece of debris at a tsunami-ravaged village in Sumur, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)
A woman and her children inspect the damage at a tsunami-ravaged village in Sumur, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)
A tsunami survivor sits on a pice of debris as she salvages items from the location of her house in Sumur, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)

Nugroho acknowledged on Twitter that the country's network of detection buoys had been out of order since 2012 because of vandalism and budget shortfalls.

But the head of Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, said the tsunami was caused by Krakatau's volcanic activity and so could not have been picked up by the agency's sensors, which monitor conventional earthquakes responsible for more than 90% of Indonesia's tsunamis.

Karnawati said the tsunami was probably caused by the collapse of a big section of the volcano's slope.

Anak Krakatau had been erupting since June and did so again 24 minutes before the tsunami, the geophysics agency said.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and home to 260 million people, lies along the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

The massive eruption of Krakatoa killed more than 30,000 people and hurled so much ash that it turned day to night in the area and reduced global temperatures.

Thousands were believed killed by a quake and tsunami that hit Sulawesi island in September, and an earlier quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people in August.

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