At least 222 people were killed and 745 wounded when a tsunami hit the banks of the Indonesian Sunda Strait on Saturday evening, 22 December. This wave was caused by an eruption of a volcano Anak Krakatoa, a small island in the Sunda Strait that separates Java and Sumatra.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said on Saturday that hundreds of buildings were “badly damaged” when the tsunami struck the Sunda Strait.
According to the authorities, the tsunami was triggered by an abnormal rising tide due to the full moon, combined with a submarine landslide caused by the eruption. “The combination [of the two factors] caused a sudden tsunami that hit the coast,” said Nugroho, spokesman for the national disaster management agency, adding that the Indonesian geological agency was conducting an investigation to to know exactly what happened.
Spectacular video footage published on social networks shows a giant wave that falls on an outdoor concert given by the pop group “Seventeen”. Its members are projected off the stage by the wave.
Thousands of people have been forced to evacuate to the heights. There was no estimate of the number of missing.
The Indonesian authorities had initially declared that the wave was not a tsunami but a rising tide and called on the population not to panic.
“It was a mistake, we’re sorry,” Nugroho wrote later on Twitter.
Rescuers were feverishly looking for survivors in the debris.
Tsunamis triggered by volcanic eruptions, which cause water displacement, are relatively rare, according to the Tsunami International Information Center. Unlike waves following earthquakes, the authorities do not have time to warn people.