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Tsunami strikes Indonesia without warning, killing scores

Tsunami strikes Indonesia without warning, killing scores

At least 168 killed and more than 700 injured

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A tsunami in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait struck two of the country’s islands without warning, killing at least 168 people and injuring more than 700, officials said Sunday.

A 3-foot wave, apparently caused by volcanic activity on the island of Anak Krakatau, swept ashore Saturday night along the coasts of western Java and southern Sumatra.

No earthquake was recorded and no tsunami warning was issued, said Rahmat Triyono, earthquake and tsunami chief at Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.

“We don’t know what caused the tsunami yet,” he said. “We suspect it was caused by the Anak Krakatau activities.”

Officials reported deaths and destruction on both Java and Sumatra. The Sunda Strait lies between the islands, connecting the Java Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Officials put the number of missing at 30.

Videos from the regency of Pandeglang in Java’s Banten province showed extensive damage. More than 400 homes, nine hotels and at least 10 vessels were damaged or destroyed in Pandeglang, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster management agency, said on Twitter.

The tsunami also cut off the road from Pandeglang to the nearby regency of Serang, officials said.

The area hit by the tsunami is popular with tourists from Jakarta, the capital, and many people were at the beach Saturday when the wave struck around 9:30 p.m.

A video posted on YouTube showed the wave hitting a rock band as it performed on a stage on Tanjung Lesung Beach in Pandeglang. The group, Seventeen, said that the bass player and road manager had died and that three members of the band were missing.

The band was performing at a gathering for families of employees of Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the state electricity company. Company officials said that 14 people had died and that 89 were unaccounted for.

Anak Krakatau, or the Child of Krakatau, emerged nearly a century ago from the volcanic crater of Krakatau, also called Krakatoa, which erupted in 1883 in one of the largest such events in recorded history.

The volcanic island has been growing steadily ever since and in recent weeks has been erupting frequently.

Rahmat said that no tsunami warning had been issued because such warnings are prompted by tectonic activity and that no earthquake had occurred.

Officials said they would investigate whether the volcanic activity set off an undersea landslide that caused the tsunami.

Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, sits in an active volcanic and seismic area known as the Ring of Fire.

In September, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi, setting off an underwater landslide and tsunami that struck the city of Palu and surrounding areas. More than 2,100 people died in that disaster.

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