Indonesia: Tsunami Death Toll Is Rising Fast

The confirmed death toll is 430, with at least 159 people missing. Nearly 1,500 people were injured and over 21,000 people have evacuated to higher ground.A state of emergency has been declared until Jan. 4.

JAKARTA: Indonesian rescue teams on Wednesday struggled to reach remote areas on the western coast of Java amid an “extreme weather” rain warning after a tsunami killed more than 400 people last week.

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.

Heavy rain lashed fishing villages along the coast, muddying roads and holding up convoys delivering heavy machinery and aid to isolated areas while authorities urged residents to stay away from the shore in case of further waves.

Indonesia’s meteorology agency (BMKG) said the rough weather could make the volcano’s crater more fragile.Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area in 1927 and has been growing ever since.

Rice and instant noodles have been delivered to many shelters, but clean water, wet weather gear, fresh clothes, and blankets are in short supply, some evacuees said.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago that sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire. This year, the country has suffered its worst annual death toll from disasters in more than a decade.

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.

The latest disaster, coming during the Christmas season, evoked memories of the Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, which killed 226,000 people in 14 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.