The December 22 tsunami kills more than 220 people and injuring over 840 others (Source: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo on December 23 ordered all relevant government agencies to immediately take emergency response steps, find victims and care for the injured following the December 22 tsunami.  

The tsunami, which came after a volcanic eruption in the country one day earlier, hit beaches in South Sumatra and the western tip of Java at about 9.30 pm local time on December 22, killing more than 220 people and injuring over 840 others.

Rescuers said that roads full of debris from collapsed houses and fallen trees are hampering them from approaching the affected areas. They are exerting efforts to evacuate the injured, provide survivors with clean water and shelter, and make preparations for the possibility of disease outbreaks.

Locals and tourists were warned not to go to beaches as high tide will continue until the end of December 25.

Indonesia’s neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Australia affirmed their willingness to give support if being asked.

Experts warned on December 23 that another tsunami could strike Indonesia.

The December 22 tsunami "appears to have been caused by an underwater collapse" of part of the Anak Krakatoa volcano, said David Rothery of the Open University in the United Kingdom.

Anak Krakatoa is a new island that emerged around 1928 in the crater left by Krakatoa, whose massive 1883 eruption killed at least 36,000 people.

Richard Teeuw of the University of Portsmouth in the UK said that "such waves - laden with debris - can be deadly for coastal communities, especially if there is no warning."

Teeuw said that sonar surveys would now be needed to map the seafloor around the volcano, but "unfortunately submarine surveys typically take many months to organise and carry out," he added.

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

Most recently, a quake and tsunami killed thousands of people in the city of Palu on Sulawesi island in September.

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.-VNA