Indonesia ‘volcano tsunami’: 281 people dead, more than 1,000 injured; officials say number of ‘victims’ expected to rise

Jakarta: The toll from a volcano-triggered tsunami in Indonesia has risen to 281, with more than 1,000 people injured, the national disaster agency said on Monday, as the desperate search for survivors ramped up. "The number of victims and extent of damage will continue to rise," said agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

 Indonesia ‘volcano tsunami’: 281 people dead, more than 1,000 injured; officials say number of ‘victims’ expected to rise

A resident searches for items among the ruins of a villa after the area was hit by a tsunami, at Carita beach in Indonesia. Reuters

Hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the wave, which slammed into the coast of southern Sumatra and the western tip of Java about 9.30 pm (local time) on Saturday after a volcano known as the "child" of Krakatoa erupted.

According to Indonesia's geological agency, Anak Krakatoa had been showing signs of heightened activity for days, spewing plumes of ash thousands of metres into the air. The vast archipelago nation is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth due to its position straddling the so-called Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, where tectonic plates collide.

Most recently, in the city of Palu on Sulawesi island, a quake and tsunami in September killed thousands of people. Tsunamis triggered by volcanic eruptions are relatively rare, caused by the sudden displacement of water or "slope failure", according to the International Tsunami Information Centre.

Unlike those caused by earthquakes, which trigger alert systems, these tsunamis give authorities very little time to warn residents of the impending threat.

Updated Date: Dec 24, 2018 08:26:47 IST