Death toll from Indonesian tsunami nears 400
LABUAN: Indonesian military and rescue teams fanned out across a stretch of coastline on Monday, hoping to find survivors of a tsunami triggered by a landslide from a volcano that killed at least 373 people.
Thick clouds of ash spewed from Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island where a crater collapse at high tide late on Saturday set off waves that smashed into coastal areas on both sides of the Sunda Strait between the islands of Sumatra and Java.
Rescuers used heavy machinery and bare hands to dig bodies out of mud and wreckage along a 100km stretch of Java’s west coast.
More than 1,400 people were injured, and about 12,000 residents had to move to higher ground, with a high-tide warning extended to Wednesday.
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.
Earthquakes flattened parts of the island of Lombok in July and August, and a double quake-and-tsunami killed more than 2,000 people on a remote part of Sulawesi island in September.
“At least 373 people have died, while 128 people are currently missing,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said on Monday evening.
Imran phones Widodo
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday phoned President Widodo and expressed deep sorrow and condolences over the loss of precious lives in Sunda Strait due to devastation caused by tsunami.
The prime minister conveyed that Pakistan and Indonesia enjoyed fraternal and historic relations that made the current natural calamity equally felt at heart by the people of both the countries, a PM Office statement issued in Islamabad said.
He underscored that these were testing times for Indonesia and the brave Indonesian people would overcome these difficulties with the grace of Allah and Indonesia would progress even further.
The prime minister reaffirmed his resolve to further strengthen bilateral relations with Indonesia and enhance cooperation the in all areas for mutual benefit of the peoples of two countries.