Indonesia Tsunami: Death Toll Hits 429, Navy Discovers Bodies At Sea

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.

JAKARTA: The death toll following the tsunami caused by the Anak Krakatau volcano in Indonesia has risen to at least 429.

The Anak Krakatau volcano lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, linking the Indian Ocean and Java Sea.

The toll was likely to continue rising as search-and-rescue teams were still finding bodies in the water and washed up on small outer islands, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a press conference on Tuesday.

Pandeglang had recorded the highest death toll of 290, said Sutopo.Sutopo said the Indonesian Navy had sent out ships to help in the search for bodies and survivors, and had discovered several bodies in the water and on small offshore islands of Java.

Coastal residents near the volcano have been warned to keep away from beaches amid fears it could trigger a new tsunami.

Indonesia is prone to tsunamis because it lies on the Ring of Fire – the line of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific Rim.

The tsunami, which hit at 9:27 p.m. Saturday, may have been a result of an undersea landslidenear the Anak Krakatau Volcano. Anak Krakatau, which means “Child of Krakatau,” was erupting again on Sunday, spewing ash and smoke.

The waves destroyed hundreds of buildings, sweeping away cars and uprooting trees in several popular tourist destinations, including the Tanjung Lesung beach resort, west Java.

Nine hotels, 430 homes and 10 vessels were heavily damaged. Footage posted by the head of the disaster agency showed the aftermath of flooded streets and an overturned car.

Military troops, government personnel and volunteers continued searching along debris-strewn beaches.Yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out where victims were found, and weeping relatives identified the dead. Many searched for missing loved ones at hospital morgues.

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 President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expressed his sympathy and ordered government agencies to respond quickly to the disaster.