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Indonesia Tsunami: Death toll climbs to 373

Agency News

Jakarta, Dec 25: At least 373 people have been killed so far and 1459 injured with more than 10000 rendered homeless in a Tsunami that struck off the Sunda Strait of Western Indonesia between Java and Sumatra destroying 681 housing units, 69 hotels, 60 shops and completely damaging 420 boats.

Indonesia had not even recuperated from the recent havoc done by the earthquake, a major tragedy has again jolted the nation.

It is thought that volcanic activity set off undersea landslides which in turn generated the killer waves. The disaster management agency also said that high seas as a result of the full moon may also have contributed to the strength of the waves.

A joint rescue team with heavy machinery equipment has reached more tsunami-affected areas, retrieving more victims of the catastrophe, which struck the coast along Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands Saturday night, spokesman of the National Disaster Management Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Rescue efforts are being hampered by blocked roads but heavy lifting equipment is being transported to badly hit areas to help search for victims. Showers and thunderstorms through mid-week will put a damper on recovery efforts along the Sunda Strait in Indonesia following a deadly tsunami. The spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, told a news conference that another tsunami is a possibility because of the continued volcanic eruptions of Anak Krakatau.

Indonesia is prone to tsunamis because it lies on the Ring of Fire - the line of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.

In September, more than 2,000 people died when a powerful earthquake struck just off the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu. On 26 December 2004, a series of huge waves triggered by a powerful earthquake in the Indian Ocean killed about 228,000 people in 14 countries, mostly in Indonesia. However, tsunamis caused by volcanic activity like this are less frequent.

In August 1883, Krakatoa underwent one of the most violent volcanic eruptions in recorded history. UNI

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