Sunday, December 23

Strange and Deadly Surprise for Indonesians Near the Sunda Strait

From an official source, the latest death toll is now at 222, with 848 injured. And it seems hundreds could be missing/ unaccounted for. My condolences to Indonesians for this tragedy, which seems to have some unusual features for a tsunami.

First, it seems there was no warning for the waves, which I don't know at this point could technically be characterized as a tsunami although they're being described as such by the media at least. A tsunami is caused by a large displacement of water, but I thought the displacement allows for a warning. Well, I could be wrong; I know little about tsunamis.

Secondly, I was struck by a Norweigan amateur volcano tracker's remark, which accompanied his 26-second video footage:
Driving past debris from the impact zone of the tsunami in #Anyer. Many local houses are damaged. Note also the wierd color of the sea, never seen it like that
Yes, it's a strange color -- looks whitish to my eyes, and as far as can be seen in the video.

The video is posted as part of  Sputnik's report on the incident, which is featuring live updates on the incident including the latest death toll I quoted above. The video is also available on the Twitter page for the volcano observer,  Ã˜ystein L. Andersen, who filmed the video and is providing updates. 

From this Al Jazeera video report, the water from the waves flowed up to 20 meters inland from the Sunda Strait. A representative of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies told Al Jazeera that there were four different waves, ranging in height "from under a half meter to a meter so this could have been much worse."  

The AJ report initially published about 2-1/2 hours ago also mentions that Indonesia's meteorological and geophysics agency "believes the waves could have been caused by undersea landslides from the eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano."

The text accompanying the video report notes in part (emphasis mine):
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 until December 25.
"Please do not be around the beaches around the Sunda Strait. Those who have evacuated, please do not return yet," said Rahmat Triyono, an official at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).
TV footage showed roads blocked by debris from damaged houses, overturned cars and fallen trees.
Coastal residents reported not seeing or feeling any warning signs, like receding water or an earthquake, before waves of up to two metres washed ashore, according to media.

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