JAKARTA, Indonesia – Volcanic activity at Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau continued on Sunday, a day after an eruption triggered a devastating tsunami that killed at least 222 people and left 843 others injured.
The Anak Krakatau volcano, known locally as the child of the legendary Krakatoa, has been spewing ash and lava for months and erupted shortly after 9 pm (1400 GMT) on Saturday.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Management said that the volcano triggered a tsunami, that struck at around 9.30 pm (1430 GMT) on Saturday, causing widespread devastation in the region.
The agency said that without any warning, the tsunami struck along the rim of the Sunda Strait – hitting the coast of southern Sumatra and the western tip of Java.
Giant waves of 2-3 meters (6-10 feet) washed ashore, destroying hundreds of homes and several other buildings, sweeping away cars and uprooting trees.
On Sunday evening, the country’s National Board for Disaster Management announced that at least 222 people were killed in the tsunami, while 843 people had suffered injuries.
Further, about 28 people were missing as of Sunday evening and authorities warned that the death toll was likely to rise further.
Nugroho told reporters that search and rescue teams were scouring through the rubble and debris left behind after the disastrous tsunami, to hunt for survivors.
‘Stay off the coast’
Even as the country was coming to terms with the magnitude of the disaster, the agency raised the possibility of a second tsunami after volcanic activity continued at the small volcanic island of Anak Krakatau.
Authorities warned that residents and tourists in coastal areas around the Sunda Strait should continue to stay away from beaches.
Thousands of residents that were forced to evacuate to higher ground were asked not to return just yet.
People were asked to stay away from beaches and the agency reiterated that a high-tide warning will remain in place until December 25, while officials evaluate the risks.
Rahmat Triyono, an official at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said in a statement, “Those who have evacuated, please do not return yet.”
Nugroho said that authorities were still trying to determine the exact cause of the disaster, but that an initial assessment had showed that the tsunami was caused by “an undersea landslide resulting from volcanic activity on Anak Krakatau.”
He added that the tsunami was exacerbated by abnormally high tides because of the full moon.
Reports quoted survivors as saying that the tsunami came with no warning signs, with officials confirming that neither the seawater receded.
In a statement post the disaster, the Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that he had “ordered all relevant government agencies to immediately take emergency response measures, find victims and care for the injured.”