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Indonesia’s tsunami death toll rises to 168 with over 700 injured

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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, Dec. 23, 2018. Reuters

JAKARTA (Xinhua) – The death toll from a tsunami triggered by the eruption of Krakatau Child volcano in Indonesia has increased to 168, with 745 people injured, and rescuers have recovered more bodies, disaster agency official said yesterday.

The tsunami flattened 430 houses and nine hotels, and damaged scores of ships, spokesman of national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told Xinhua in a text message.

Pandeglang district of Banten province suffered the most from the tsunami, and other two districts of Serang in the province and Lampung Selatan in Lampung province were also impacted by it, said Mr Sutopo.

“Now, we are preparing a survey and a mapping (of the risks of the disaster) with an aircraft,” Mr Sutopo said, adding 624 injured people are being treated in Pandeglang district.

In the Pandeglang district, huge waves rattled residential areas and several tourist destinations situated along the coastal areas, such as Pantai Tanjung Lesung, Sumur, Penimbang, Teluk Lada dan Carita.

“When the tragedy occurred, many people were spending their time along the coastal areas of Pandeglang,” he said.

The waters submerged the area with the height of four to five meters, leaving scores of people missing, head of emergency department of disaster management agency in the district Endang Permana said.

In Lampung Selatan district, evacuation of those under the rubble of collapsed buildings and search for missing persons who were swept by waves during the tsunami are undergoing, said Ketut Sukerta, head of the disaster management agency in the district.

“Over 100 buildings collapsed, we are now attempting to rescue the people trapped under the rubble and find those swept by the waves,” he told Xinhua by phone from Lampung Selatan district.

The national search and rescue office has deployed its personnel to search and rescue the victims of the catastrophe, head of communication for media of the national search and rescue office Yusuf Latief said.

By far, Mr Latief said, the search and evacuation mission is still carried out in a manual way, but if there is a request for heavy machinery equipment and other devices, the office would immediately comply with it.

The eruption of the Krakatau Child volcano most likely triggered landslides at the sea bed that culminated to a tsunami, which was emboldened by the effect of full moon at 9:27 pm local time, head of the meteorology and geophysics agency Dwikorita Karnawati said.

Krakatau Child is one of the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a vast archipelagic nation home to over 17,500 islands and sits on a vulnerable quake-hit zone, the so-called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

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