Indonesia tsunami: Stay away from the sea, officials urge
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People are being urged to stay away from the coast in Indonesia in areas where a tsunami killed more than 420 people when it struck.
The fresh warning comes on the anniversary of the catastrophic 2004 Asian earthquake and tsunami which claimed the lives of almost 230,000 people.
Potential heavy rain and high waves have prompted Indonesia’s meteorology, geophysics and climatology agency to instruct people to stay at least 500 metres (1,640ft) and up to one kilometre (less than a mile) from the coastline along the Sunda Strait.
The warning, sent out late on Tuesday, was issued as the government continues to monitor the activity of volcano Anak Krakatoa, which is thought to have set off a landslide and displaced water when it erupted on Saturday.
“All these conditions could potentially cause landslides at the cliffs of the crater into the sea, and we fear that that could trigger a tsunami,” agency head Dwikorita Karnawati said, adding that although people should be vigilant they should not panic.
Some 429 people have died, more than 1,400 people are injured and at least 128 are missing, according to Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency.
More than 16,000 people have been displaced from their homes.
Police have been patrolling beaches in Carita, which was severely damaged in the disaster, to urge people to stay away.
Despite this, some people defied the order in a bid to salvage what they could from their decimated homes.
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Scientists said the tsunami’s waves were recorded in several places at about one metre (more than three feet) high, but residents of Sumur village say they witnessed water rising more than three metres (10ft) there.
Some even report waves as high as five metres (more than 16 feet).
“There was no sign of a tsunami when we were at the beach. The sea didn’t recede,” said Tati Hayati, a housewife.
When she saw the waves approaching the shore she managed to get into her car but was unable to outrun the water.
She recalled the car being hit by three waves which broke the back window and her vehicle began to flood.
“We were locked inside. The car was swaying in the waves and we thought we would all die,” Hayati said.
“We almost could not breathe and I almost gave up when I groped the key in the water and managed to open the door, and the water began to recede.
“We got out of the car and ran to safety.”
Anak Krakatau has been erupting since June.
It did so less than half an hour before the tsunami, according to the geophysics agency.