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Death toll from Java tsunami at 327 JAKARTA - Tearful parents searched for missing children Tuesday, and soldiers dug through the debris of homes flattened by the second tsunami to hit Indonesia in as many years. Well over 300 people were killed and more than 160 others were missing. The waves tossed fishing boats 100 yards inland and turned the resort's main street into a tangled junkyard of busted buildings, cars and furniture. Bodies were piled in temporary morgues.

"I don't mind losing any of my property, but please God return my son," said Basril, a villager who goes by one name, as he and his wife searched though the debris piled up on Java island's southern coast. The area hit by Monday's disaster was spared by the devastating 2004 Asian tsunami, and many residents said they did not even feel the 7.7-magnitude undersea quake that unleashed the 6-foot-high wall of water.

But some recognized the danger when they saw the ocean recede and fled to higher ground, screaming "Tsunami! Tsunami!" A black wave shot to shore a half hour later, witnesses said, sending boats, cars and motorbikes crashing into resorts and fishing villages. The water reached 300 yards inland. The death toll rose to at least 327, and it was expected to go higher.

"We are still finding many bodies. Many are stuck in the ruins of the houses," said local police chief Syamsuddin Janieb. He said at least 181 people were killed and 85 missing in the Pangandaran area alone. Most of those killed were Indonesians, but a Pakistani, Swede and three Dutch nationals were among the dead, Janieb and consulate officials said.

At least 23,000 people fled their homes, either because they were destroyed or in fear of another tsunami, so accounting for the 160 missing could take time, other officials said Tuesday. Survivors, meanwhile, recounted tales of horror. "We saw a big wall of black water. I ran with my son in my arms and when I looked back, the waves were at our house. They destroyed our house," said Ita Anita, who was on the beach with her 11-month-old child and other relatives. "The water knocked me down, my son slipped out of my hands and was taken by the water."

Pedi Mulyadi, a 43-year-old food vendor, said he was waiting on the beach for customers when the wave struck, killing his wife, Ratini, 33. The pair were clinging to one another when they were swallowed by the torrent of water and pulled 30 yards inland, he said. "Then we were hit, I think by a piece of wood," Mulyadi said. "When the water finally pulled away, she was dead. Oh my God, my wife is gone, just like that."

Ira was playing with her 6-year-old son on the beach when the tsunami struck. The beach-front vendor survived Monday's onslaught, but her only child was torn from her arms. "The water was too strong," Ira said as she dug through a pile of rubble with her bare hands, close to the spot where she was last with her son. "Oh God. Eki, where are you?" cried Ira, who gave only one name. Roads were blocked and power cut to much of the area.

Indonesia was hardest hit by the 2004 tsunami that killed at least 216,000 people in a dozen nations along the Indian Ocean rim - more than a half of them on Sumatra island's Aceh province. Though the country started to install an early warning system after that disaster, it is still in the early stages, covering only Sumatra. The government had been planning to extend the warning system to Java by 2007.

The island was hit seven weeks ago by a 5.9-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 5,800 people, though the 110 miles of coastline hit by Monday's tsunami was not affected by that temblor. Monday's quake struck at 3:24 p.m. about 150 miles beneath the ocean floor, causing tall buildings to sway hundreds of miles away in the capital, Jakarta. The region was rattled by a series of strong aftershocks.

After the quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and Japan's Meteorological Agency issued warnings of a possible tsunami. It struck Java about an hour later and its effects could be felt as far away as Bali island and near Australia's Coco Islands. In addition to the 181 deaths tallied in Pangandaran, central Java police chief Dody Sumantiawan said at least 89 people were killed and more than 70 others missing in nearby Cilacap district. Another 44 were found in Tasikmalaya district, and 13 in other areas, local officials said.


Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake') Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake'):
18 July 2006 · Tsunami on Java coast kills over 100 people
17 July 2006 · Tsunami warning for Australia, Indonesia after quake
17 July 2006 · Tsunami hits western shore of Java island


Posted in Earthquake @ 18 July 2006 12:40 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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