Rescuers move victim's body in Carita, Banten province of Indonesia (Photo: AFP/VNA)

 

Hanoi (VNA) – A tsunami following a volcanic eruption in Indonesia claimed at least 168 lives, said local authorities on December 23.

Representative of the Indonesian national disaster mitigation agency said 745 people were wounded and 30 others remain missing.

Dozens of buildings were destroyed by the wave, which hit beaches in South Sumatra and the western tip of Java about 9.30 pm local time on December 22, following a volcano eruption.

The same day, authorities warned residents and tourists in coastal areas around the Sunda Strait to stay away from beaches and a high-tide warning remained in place through till December 25.

Head of Indonesian meteorological agency Rahmat Triyono urged those who have evacuated to not return yet.

Meanwhile, authorised agencies are gathering information on the disaster, adding that the number of casualties is likely to rise considering not all places have been checked.

Initial estimates showed that about 430 houses were destroyed and nine hotels were heavily damaged.

The disaster caused severe impacts to areas surrounding Sunda Strait, including beaches in Pangegland, Serang and South Lampung.

Authorities say the tsunami may have been triggered by an abnormal tidal surge due to a new moon and an underwater landslide following the eruption of Anak Krakatoa, which forms a small island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra.

Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific 'Ring of Fire', where tectonic plates collide and a large portion of the world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

Anak Krakatoa is one of 127 active volcanoes which run the length of the archipelago.

In 2004, a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in western Indonesia killed 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia.

In September this year, in the city of Palu on Sulawesi island, a quake and tsunami killed more than 2,000 of people, while 5,000 people went missing and 9,000 had to leave their home. -VNA