Vietnam Time

12/26/2018 11:50:22 AM

Indonesia issues 'extreme weather' warning for tsunami-hit coast near Krakatoa

Indonesian authorities warned on Wednesday (Dec 26) of "extreme weather and high waves" around the erupting Anak Krakatoa volcano, urging people to stay away from the coast already devastated by a tsunami that killed more than 400 people.

A plume of ash rises as Anak Krakatau erupts in Indonesia, Dec 23, 2018, in this picture obtained from social media. (Photo: Reuters/Susi Air)

Clouds of ash spewed from Anak Krakatoa, almost obscuring the volcanic island where a crater collapse at high tide on Saturday sent waves up to 5m high smashing into the coast on the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra islands.

Indonesia's meteorology agency (BMKG) said late on Tuesday the rough weather around the volcano could make its crater more fragile.

"We have developed a monitoring system focused specifically on the volcanic tremors at Anak Krakatau so that we can issue early warnings," said BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati, adding that a 2km exclusion zone had been imposed.

Anak Krakatoa (Child of Krakatoa) volcano is seen from Japanese helicopter carrier Kaga at the Indian Ocean, Indonesia, Sep 22, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

The confirmed death toll is 429, with at least 154 people missing. More than 1,400 people were injured and thousands of people have moved to higher ground.

The vast archipelago, which sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", has suffered its worst annual death toll from disasters in more than a decade.

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.

The Saturday evening tsunami followed the collapse of an area of the volcano island of about 64 hectares, or about 90 football pitches.

A man looks at debris along a beach after a tsunami, near Sumur, Banten province, Indonesia, Dec 26, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Jorge Silva)

The waves generated engulfed fishing villages and holiday beach parties at resorts, leaving a coast littered with crushed vehicles, felled trees. Chunks of metal, wooden beams and household items have been strewn across roads and rice fields.

In 1883, the volcano then known as Krakatoa erupted in one of the biggest blasts in recorded history, killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunami, and lowering the global surface temperature by one degree Celsius with its ash.

Anak Krakatoa (child of Krakatoa) is the island that emerged from the area in 1927, and has been growing ever since.

Debris surround buildings along a shore after a tsunami hit Kalianda, Lampung province, Indonesia, Dec 25, 2018 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. (Image: Reuters/BNPB Indonesia)

Rescuers were trying on Wednesday to reach several villages still inaccessible by road.

Thousands of people are staying in tents and temporary shelters like mosques or schools, with dozens sleeping on the floor or in crowded public facilities.

Ayub, a 20-year old fisherman sleeping with his family in a tent provided by the military, said conditions were not ideal due to the rain, but that they had enough to eat.

"Everything is destroyed ... My boat, motorcycle, house - all of it," he told Reuters.

"The most important thing is we’re alive.”

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