The “Son of Krakatoa” Unleashes a Tsunami with 373 Dead in Indonesia

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Emerged after the greatest eruption in history in 1883, it is feared that this volcano will explode as its “father” did.

The tragedy hits Indonesia again, the “catastrophe archipelago” shaken every two to three by tsunamis, earthquakes, plane crashes and shipwrecks. Nearly three months after a tsunami swallowed more than 2,000 lives on the island of Celebes (Sulawesi in the local language), waves of up to three meters swept the coastal towns of the Sond a Strait on Saturday night , separating the islands of Java and Sumatra.

While waiting for the rescue teams to reach all the affected areas, many of them blocked by the debris that dragged the force of the sea, the number of victims amounts to 373 dead , 1459 injured and 128 missing. This was announced in the early hours of Monday by the Indonesian authorities. In addition, in his Twitter account, the spokesman of the National Agency for the Fight against Disasters (BNPB, in its initials in Indonesian), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, estimated the material damages in 611 destroyed houses, 69 hotels, 60 food stalls and 420 boats. A total of 11,687 people had to travel for security reasons.

At first, this expert in natural catastrophes had attributed the tragedy to a high tide caused by the full moon, since there had been no earthquake on Saturday night. But then he corrected his explanations because everything indicates that the tsunami was due to underwater landslides caused by the eruption of the volcano “Anak Krakatoa” (“Son of Krakatoa”). This is how the island is known, which, in the narrow Strait of the Sound, emerged after the explosion in 1883 of Krakatoa, the largest volcanic eruption in history. With a column of ash that rose up to six kilometers, he unleashed a 40-meter tsunami that killed more than 36,000 people and his explosions clouded the sky and were heard even in Australia. Its power, of about 200 megatons of TNT, was the equivalent of 13,000atomic bombs like that of Hiroshima . Although much of the island sank under the sea, in 1927 new eruptions began that made another piece of land emerge the following year. Growing at an annual rate of five meters, the new volcano on the island already reaches a height of 300 meters and some geologists have warned that one day it will burst as its “father”, the legendary Krakatoa.

Observed since 2012, when the Indonesian government placed it at the second highest level of alert, the “Son of Krakatoa” has been registering eruptions since June and the authorities do not allow to approach less than two kilometers from his island, which is uninhabited. “At 9:03 pm on Saturday (3:03 pm Spanish time), the Krakatoa erupted again and damaged the nearby seismometers, but Sertung seismological station detected continuous tremors ,” explained the head of the Agency for the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG), Dwikorita Karnawati, according to the newspaper “The Jakarta Post”.

To this newspaper, the president of the Association of Indonesian Geologists, Sukmandaru, pointed out that “the eruption of the Anak Krakatoa probably caused an earthquake that unleashed a landslide on an underwater slope that, in turn, triggered the tsunami .” In his opinion, “more information is still needed to confirm the real cause” because other major eruptions of the volcano have not caused tsunamis, but tremors due to intense activity in recent days may have weakened the submarine hills.

The "Son of Krakatoa" Unleashes a Tsunami with 373 Dead in Indonesia

No reasons for the catastrophe

While the authorities determine the reasons for the catastrophe, the emergency teams are working to find survivors and collect corpses.The tsunami hit the coasts of Java and Sumatra at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday (3:30 p.m.), when many enjoyed a pleasant evening by the sea. Without the anti-tsunami alarms , since no earthquake had been detected, its powerful waves dragged up to ten meters with everything they found in its path.

As a spooky video posted on social networks shows , the waves devastated a store where a rock group called “Seventeen” was performing. Between cries of panic, the water was carried ahead to the stage musicians and the audience. Crying, his singer, Riefian Fajarsyah, told yesterday on Instagram that the bassist and manager had died, while other members of the band and his wife were still missing.

Around the Sonda Strait, which connects the Java Sea with the Indian Ocean, the tsunami has affected many tourist towns frequented by the middle class of the capital, Jakarta, only one hundred kilometers away. These include the Pandeglang district, where the Tanjung Lesung enclave is promoted as one of the ten “new Balis” in Indonesia. ¬ęThe buildings on the beach were destroyed. The trees and electric poles fell to the ground, “he told Agence France Presse Asep Perangkat, after escaping from a wave that was dragging cars, houses and freight containers in Carita. The same scenes of devastation were repeated on the other side of the strait, in Sumatra.

Precisely, the north coast of this island was devastated at Christmas 2004, when the largest tsunami in history swept the Indian Ocean and claimed more than 222,000 lives in 14 countries, half in Indonesia. Fourteen years later, the tragedy hits again this paradisiacal archipelago, but catastrophic.


Source: ABC ES