At Least 222 Are Dead After Tsunami Crashes Into Indonesia, With Death Toll Expected to Rise

By Catie Keck on at

A deadly tsunami that struck Indonesia unexpectedly has reportedly left hundreds of people dead and many more missing and injured.

It smashed into the beaches of Indonesia’s Sunda Strait on Saturday evening with no warning, as no earthquake preceded the event. CNN reported that the tsunami may have resulted from underwater landslides triggered by volcanic activity on the island of Anak Krakatoa.

“Unlike tsunamis caused by earthquakes, such volcanically induced tsunamis may not trigger warning systems that are designed to alarm after large quakes, and thus may provide little warning, unless observed directly or detected by other devices such as wave buoy warning systems,” Dougal Jerram of the department of geosciences at the University of Oslo told the Guardian. “Particularly when the volcano in question, as with Anak Krakatau, is already active and displaying activity such that its eruption is not a new or a surprise event.”

The tsunami also left hundreds of buildings damaged in its wake, including hotels, homes, and other structures. At least 222 people are dead, though that figure is expected to rise. The Guardian reported that more than 800 people were injured in the incident, and dozens of people are currently missing.

Terrifying footage captured the tsunami crashing into a beachfront concert as the Indonesian pop band Seventeen performed onstage. The band’s bass player and manager were reportedly killed after the stage collapsed, and other members of the band remain missing, according to CNN.

Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo expressed his “deep condolences,” tweeting that he’s “ordered all relevant government officials to immediately take emergency response steps, look for and find victims, and care for the injured.”

Tourists and residents of the area have been warned by authorities to steer clear of the beaches, Reuters reported, amid a high-tide warning in effect through 25 December.

Ilan Kelman, of the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and Institute for Global Health London at University College London, told the Guardian that the incident “shows the ever-present challenges we face in developing warning systems for hazards like tsunamis.” [The Guardian, CNN]

Featured image: AP