Jakarta, Dec 26 (IANS) Indonesian authorities on Wednesday raised to 430 the death toll in the devastating tsunami triggered by a volcanic eruption in Sunda Strait, while nearly 22,000 people were displaced.
Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho also raised the number of missing persons to 159 due to the disaster on Saturday night that also left 1,495 injured.
In the worst-hit area of Pandeglang, in the west coast of Jawa island, 290 were killed, 1,143 injured and 77 missing apart from nearly 17,477 affected, said Sutopo.
The tsunami struck the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra almost without warning late Saturday, shortly after the Anak Krakatau volcano erupted in the Sunda Strait dividing the islands.
Rough weather conditions in the west coast and southern part of Sumatra Island were making it tough for the humanitarian aid and rescue teams, Efe news reported.
Sutopo tweeted that heavy rain caused flooding in several areas in Pandeglang and disrupted the evacuation process.
Indonesia’s Meteorology Agency issued an alert urging people to stay away from the coasts due to predicted weather conditions that could cause strong tides.
The country on Wednesday also commemorated the 167,799 people who lost their lives in 2004 as a result of the December 26 Boxing Day tsunami caused by a magnitude-9.1 earthquake off the northern coast of Sumatra.
The disaster also caused deaths in a dozen other nations around the Indian Ocean, killing around 230,000 people in total.
Buddhists, Muslims and Christians all took part in events marking the disaster’s 14th anniversary, including at Siron Tsunami Mass Grave in the Sumatran province of Aceh, the hardest hit by the natural disaster.
The absence and failure of early tsunami warning systems contributed to the huge casualties in Saturday’s tsunami because people had no opportunity to be evacuated, the BNPB had said.
The authorities blamed the tsunami on the collapse of part of Anak Krakatau volcano after it erupted in the Sunda Strait. Many people were celebrating the holiday period when they were hit by waves 4 to 5 metres high.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken every year by some 7,000 earthquakes, most of them moderate.