December 28, 2018 08:20:05
The devastating tsunami that smashed through villages and beach resorts along Indonesia‘s Sunda Strait, which left at least 430 dead just days before Christmas, was the latest in what seems like an endless chain of extreme natural events to hit the country this year.
And while there had been efforts to improve the tsunami warning system in Indonesia since the Aceh event in 2004, Professor Greg Foliente, deputy director of the Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety (CDMPS) at Melbourne University, said the areas needing to be covered are too vast.
Indonesian authorities are battling debris and difficult weather to search for bodies. (AP)
Coastal villages were the hardest hit as the wave came without warning. (AP: Fauzy Chaniago)
Search and rescue teams are still hunting for survivors and recovering bodies in the wake of Indonesia‘s most recent tsunami that tore through the Sunda Strait, which runs between the islands of Java and Sumatra.
By Christmas Day, 429 had been confirmed dead, 1,485 injured and 154 remain missing.
About 20,000 more were displaced with BNPB recording damage to 883 houses, 73 hotels and villas, 60 shops and 434 boats.
Footage posted on social media showed the stage suddenly being swept into the crowd mid-song.
The pop star’s wife, an Indonesian actress and TV personality, was one of dozens of audience members killed.
The official death toll from multiple earthquakes and an ensuing tsunami that hit Sulawesi between September 28 and October 1 stands at 2,073, but with around 5,000 still missing long after the search for survivors ended, the true number is likely to be much higher.
More than 10,000 people were injured and almost 90,000 displaced. The majority of fatalities occurred in the coastal town of Palu, which was hit by 7-metre waves.
Before and after satellite images revealed the extent of the damage with whole suburbs swallowed by mud and sludge.
Video: Drone footage reveals extent of devastation
The geophysical agency said there was no observation data at Palu, so they relied on the only data that they had and made a call based on that.
“If we had a tide gauge or proper data in Palu, of course, it would have been better. This is something we must evaluate for the future,” Mr Triyono said.
However, he said the warning system is improving, as well as the speed and distribution of information.
Rescuers search for victims in Tanjung, Lombok. (AP: Fauzy Chaniago)
A series of earthquakes began with a magnitude–6.4 earthquake which struck the northern part of Lombok, a popular Indonesian tourist destination, on 29 July 2018, killing 14 people and injuring hundr.
How the Lombok quake happened
The majority of large earthquakes occur on or near Earth’s tectonic plate boundaries — and the ones in the past week are no exception. However, there are some unique conditions around Lombok.
The BNPB recorded more than 133 aftershocks following the early morning earthquake, including the magnitude-6.9 quake that struck on August 5 and could be felt in islands near Bali.
Nearly 300 people were killed in mainly North Lombok, including many crushed by collapsed houses, while thousands of properties were damaged and 150,000 people were left homeless.
Two weeks later, another quake struck Lombok, killing at least 10 people and causing others to rush out of buildings in panic.
4. Landslides and flooding in Jakarta, February 22
6,500 people had been displaced by floods. (Reuters: Beawiharta)
As West Java was still reeling from an earthquake that destroyed the homes of more than 8,000 families just weeks earlier, flooding and landslides hit nearby Central Java.
The wild weather forced 6,500 people to evacuate and caused massive destruction in the capital and surrounding areas.
Rescuers worked day and night to pull out survivors buried in the mud. Eleven bodies were recovered but seven remain missing.
5. Tornado in West Java, December 6
Eni Retno, a 46-year-old woman who was driving to pick up her child, was killed after a big tree trunk fell onto her car.
According to BMKG, tornados are common during a transition from dry to rain season.
Rescuers pulled two women alive from a car trapped by a landslide for 13 hours. One later died in hospital. (AP)
“The general public and specific vulnerable communities need to be made aware of hazards and emergency procedures,” he said.
“The authorities also need to collect all kinds of data to help researchers to improve knowledge and to inform policy and decision-making.”
“All stakeholders and government on the national and local levels should also work together to create a road map to identify what the vulnerable areas need, and not only rely on BMKG,” Mr Triyono said.
Video: People in Lombok panic as magnitude 6.9 earthquake hits