Tsunami deads over 500

More than 500 people are now known to have been killed by a tsunami that struck the island of Java. More than 34,000 people have been displaced since the tsunami hit on Monday.

Tsunami deads over 500
More than 500 people are now known to have been killed by a tsunami that struck the island of Java while 200 more people are still missing, Indonesian officials have said.

More than 34,000 people have been displaced since the tsunami hit on Monday. A total of over 500 people have died, officials said, but Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia's vice president, said the death toll was expected to climb.

"In a tsunami, it is possible that the number will increase, especially those who are missing or who have been washed away to the sea," he told Elshinta radio.

A French national was among the dead, and two Dutch and four Japanese were among the injured.

Two Swedish children have also been reported missing, after waves two metres high crashed into beach resorts and fishing villages.

Regional agencies had sent out tsunami warnings after an undersea earthquake struck 180km off Pangandaran.

But the alerts did not reach the victims because Java - which only seven weeks ago was rocked by a powerful quake that killed thousands and left a million homeless - does not have a tsunami warning system.

At least three other districts were affected by the waves but  Ciamis was the worst-hit by Monday's tsunami.

The hardest-hit area appeared to be Pangandaran, a beach resort 270km southeast of Jakarta popular with local and foreign tourists.

Witnesses said people shouted "tsunami! tsunami!" and climbed trees or crowded inland mosques as the wave approached.

Hotels destroyed

The 7.2 magnitude quake, whose epicentre was more than 40km under the Indian Ocean, hit at 0819 GMT.

The 7.2 magnitude quake struck
at 0819 GMT

A woman told Jakarta-based Radio Elshinta that the waves had come several hundred metres inland at Pangandaran beach.

"Waves suddenly came and we ran to the hills. Four people from my group are still missing. Many small hotels were destroyed and boats have been thrown into hotels," she said.

Tremors were felt in high-rise buildings in Jakarta for at least one minute, prompting many to flee their offices.

The nearby Cilacap refinery owned by state oil company Pertamina was unaffected.

"The refinery is operating as usual. There were rising waves, but now the water has receded," said a Pertamina official.

In May, an earthquake near the central Java city of Yogyakarta killed more than 5,700 people.

Indonesia's 17,000 islands sprawl along a belt of intense volcanic and seismic activity, part of what is called the "Pacific Ring of Fire".

The country was the worst hit by the December 26, 2004 tsunami that killed 220,000 across Asia.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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