Jakarta, Dec 27, 2018 (Antara) - Vacationers, mostly constituting state electricity company PLN employees, were enjoying music played by rock band "Seventeen" under full moon at Tanjung Lesung Beach, Banten, when a tsunami struck without warning on late December 22, 2018.
Over 100 people, including three musicians and a crew member of Seventeen, as well as 41 PLN employees and family members, were found dead in Tanjung Lesung alone, following the volcanic tsunami affecting five districts in Banten and Lampung District.
The reason behind the lack of warning is the surprise source of the waves. Unlike past events triggered by earthquakes, this tsunami was caused by a landslide associated with the eruption of Mount Anak Krakatau, or the Child of legendary Mount Krakatoa.
A large part of the southern flank of the volcano slid into the ocean in the evening of December 22, 2018, according to images from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 satellite, reported by www.nationalgeographic.com.
Some 20 minutes after the flank collapse, a wall of water roared ashore, sweeping up everything in its path, including boats, tables, and people along coastal regions facing Sunda Strait, where Mount Anak Krakatau is located.
Anak Krakatau, situated between the islands of Java and Sumatra, had been undergoing a stuttering eruption since June 18, and an alert status has been declared for it.
The death toll from the Sunda Strait tsunami reached 430. At least 1,495 people were injured, 159 people went missing, and 21,991 others displaced.
Spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho stated on December 26, 2018, that the number of casualties might increase, as rescuers and volunteers were still attempting to reach remote coastal villages in Lampung and Banten that might have been affected by the tsunami.
The peak eruption of Mount Krakatau is yet to occur, but no one can forecast when exactly it would take place.
The Sunda Strait tsunami was the second major tsunami to have hit Indonesia, following a deadly tsunami that was triggered by a powerful earthquake rocking Palu and several other districts in Central Sulawesi Province on September 28, 2018.
The 7.4-magnitude earthquake, liquefaction, and tsunami in Central Sulawesi claimed 3,397 lives and injured 4,426 others. A total of 69,139 homes were seriously damaged and 221,450 people were displaced. Material losses inflicted by the triple deadly disasters are estimated to reach more than Rp10 trillion.
When the Central Sulawesi disasters occurred, Indonesia was still mourning over the damage and loss of lives caused by three powerful earthquakes that rocked Lombok and Sumbawa Islands in West Nusa Tenggara Province, respectively on July 29, August 5, and August 9, 2018.
The powerful magnitude-7 earthquake on Aug 5 devastated 75 percent of the buildings in North Lombok District.
The death toll on Lombok Island reached 555. More than 1,300 people were injured, and nearly 353 thousand were internally displaced. Damage and losses are currently estimated at Rp7.7 trillion ($528 million).
Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, as it is located on the "Pacific Ring of Fire" where a large number of volcanoes and earthquakes occur.
During the January-December 2018 period, a total of 2,427 natural disasters hit Indonesia, leaving 4,821 people dead or missing, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Board (BNPB).
The natural disasters also led to injuries to at least 8,400 people, displaced nearly 10 million others, and damaged some 400 thousand houses this year.
BNPB Chief Willem Rampangilei stated on December 29, 2018, that 2,350, or 96.9 percent of the natural disasters, were hydrometeorological disasters and 76, or 3.1 percent, were geological disasters.
"Predominantly, natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, and whirlwinds, occurred in 2018," he pointed out.
Although the number of geological disasters was lesser than that of hydrometeorological disasters, the geological disasters, including earthquakes and tsunami, had a greater impact than the hydrometeorological disasters.
The agency noted that 20 disastrous earthquakes left 572 people dead and 2,012 others injured as well as forced 483,364 people to flee their homes, since 16,520 houses were damaged as of December 14, 2018.
In the current rainy season, which has set in quite late over certain regions, the BNPB has warned of possible floods, landslides, and whirlwind.
"Entering the rainy season, the possibility of floods, landslides, and whirlwind increases," Sutopo Nugroho noted in a statement on November 8, 2018.
Since October 2018, floods have reportedly hit various villages in several provinces, such as West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Riau, Aceh, West Java, and East Java, and claimed tens of lives.
Increased precipitation has been forecast, and the rainy season will peak in January, so the disaster threat is higher.