The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY NINIEK KARMINI

In­done­sians be­ing told to avoid coast near vol­cano where hun­dreds died over the week­end.

In­done­sian au­thor­i­ties urged peo­ple to avoid the coast in ar­eas where a tsunami killed at least 430 peo­ple over the week­end in a fresh warn­ing is­sued on the an­niver­sary of the cat­a­strophic 2004 Asian earth­quake and tsunami.

The big waves that fol­lowed an erup­tion on a vol­canic is­land hit com­mu­ni­ties along the Sunda Strait on Satur­day night. The erup­tion of Anak Krakatau, or “Child of Kraka­toa,” is be­lieved to have set off a large land­slide on the vol­cano, ap­par­ently on its slope and un­der­wa­ter, dis­plac­ing wa­ter that slammed into Java and Su­ma­tra is­lands.

In­done­sia’s Me­te­o­rol­ogy, Geo­physics and Cli­ma­tol­ogy Agency asked peo­ple late Tues­day to stay at least 1,640 feet from the coast­line along the strait, which lies be­tween the two is­lands.

The agency was mon­i­tor­ing Anak Krakatau’s erup­tions as stormy weather and high surf con­tin­ued to plague the area, said agency head Dwiko­rita Kar­nawati.

“All these con­di­tions could po­ten­tially cause land­slides at the cliffs of the crater into the sea, and we fear that that could trig­ger a tsunami,” Kar­nawati said at a news con­fer­ence. She asked that com­mu­ni­ties re­main vig­i­lant and not to panic.

The warn­ing was reit­er­ated by the coun­try’s dis­as­ter agency on Wed­nes­day.

The tsunami struck with­out warn­ing, tak­ing peo­ple by sur­prise even in a coun­try fa­mil­iar with seis­mic dis­as­ter. No big earth­quake shook the ground be­fore­hand, and it hit at night on a hol­i­day week­end while peo­ple were en­joy­ing con­certs and other beach and re­sort ac­tiv­i­ties.

It was a sharp con­trast to the dis­as­ter that struck 14 years ago off the north­west­ern tip of Su­ma­tra is­land. An enor­mous mag­ni­tude 9.1 earth­quake rocked the area the morn­ing after Christ­mas, cre­at­ing gi­gan­tic waves that surged far in­land and swal­lowed ev­ery­thing in their path. The wall of wa­ter killed some 230,000 peo­ple in a dozen coun­tries, more than half in In­done­sia’s Aceh prov­ince.

The dev­as­ta­tion was vast, and the dis­as­ter was among the worst in re­cent his­tory. Satur­day’s event, cou­pled with an earth­quake and tsunami in Sep­tem­ber on In­done­sia’s Su­lawesi is­land that killed at least 2,100 peo­ple, trig­gered flash­backs for some who sur­vived the 2004 tragedy.

“When it hap­pens, I al­ways re­mem­ber what we have been through,” said Qur­naty, 54, who lost her home and sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers to the 2004 waves in the hard-hit provin­cial cap­i­tal of Banda Aceh.

Qur­naty, who like many In­done­sians uses only one name, prayed with sur­viv­ing fam­ily mem­bers at a mass grave there on Wed­nes­day’s an­niver­sary. “Ev­ery time I see them (on TV), I feel re­ally, re­ally sad. All we can do from here is to pray for them,” she said.

Though re­cov­ery was slow, some vic­tims of the lat­est tsunami said they re­mem­ber the re­silience of the Acehnese peo­ple, which gives them hope that they too can re­build their homes and their lives.

“I am scared. I am trau­ma­tized by the tsunami that I only knew be­fore from the news,” said Kus-



Dwiko­rita Kar­nawati, head of In­done­sia’s Me­te­o­rol­ogy, Geo­physics and Cli­ma­tol­ogy Agency

miati, who also uses one name. “Now I know how hor­ri­fy­ing a tsunami is.”

The coun­try’s sys­tem of tsunami de­tec­tion buoys – de­ployed after the 2004 dis­as­ter – has not worked since 2012, with some units be­ing stolen or van­dal­ized.

Kar­nawati, of the me­te­o­rol­ogy agency, said that be­cause the tsunami was caused by vol­canic ac­tiv­ity, it would not have been picked up by the sys­tem’s seafloor sen­sors, which mon­i­tor move­ment from con­ven­tional earthquake­s re­spon­si­ble for most of In­done­sia’s tsunamis.

Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho, spokesman for In­done­sia’s Dis­as­ter Mit­i­ga­tion Agency, said Wed­nes­day that the vol­canic ac­tiv­ity is be­lieved to have trig­gered an un­der­wa­ter land­slide and that a large chunk of Anak Krakatau’s south­west slope col­lapsed. This move­ment dis­placed a large vol­ume of wa­ter, cre­at­ing waves that raced toward the shore.

Res­i­dents of Su­mur vil­lage, which has been slow to re­ceive aid due to roads be­ing cut off, re­mained stunned by how quickly the tsunami hit. The beach, lo­cated just a few kilo­me­ters (miles) from the tourist is­land of Umang near Java’s western tip, is pop­u­lar for snor­kel­ing and other wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties. The tsunami dec­i­mated the area, rip­ping houses from their foun­da­tions and bull­doz­ing con­crete build­ings.


An In­done­sian man sifts through the de­bris Wed­nes­day in Su­mur in the af­ter­math of a tsunami that has left at least 429 dead. In­done­sian au­thor­i­ties asked peo­ple near an is­land vol­cano to avoid the coast.

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