Fearing new tsunami, Indonesia urges people to avoid coast near erupting volcano

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By Associated Press

CARITA BEACH, Indonesia — Indonesian authorities urged people to avoid the coast in areas where a tsunami killed at least 430 people over the weekend in a fresh warning issued on the anniversary of the catastrophic 2004 Asian earthquake and tsunami.

The big waves that followed an eruption on a volcanic island hit communities along the Sunda Strait on Saturday night. The eruption of Anak Krakatau, or “Child of Krakatoa,” is believed to have set off a large landslide on the volcano, apparently on its slope and underwater, displacing water that slammed into Java and Sumatra islands.

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency asked people late Tuesday to stay at least 1,640 feet and up to less than a mile from the coastline along the strait, which lies between the two main islands.

Government workers were monitoring Anak Krakatoa’s eruptions and high waves and heavy rain were possible Wednesday, said agency head Dwikorita Karnawati.

“All these conditions could potentially cause landslides at the cliffs of the crater into the sea, and we fear that that could trigger a tsunami,” she said at a news conference. She asked that communities remain vigilant but not panic.

Dec. 25, 201801:23

The tsunami struck without warning, taking people by surprise even in a country familiar with seismic disaster. No big earthquake shook the ground beforehand, and it hit at night on a holiday weekend while people were enjoying concerts and other beach and resort activities.

More than 16,000 people were displaced from their homes and heavy equipment was urgently needed to help get aid flowing and reach people who may be injured or trapped, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency.

The death toll was 429, with more than 1,400 people injured and at least 128 missing, he said.

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