Java Tsunami & Earthquakes

Jul 19th, 2006, in News, by

The death toll for the tsunami on the southern coast of Java has gone beyond 500.

No warnings were reported ahead of the 2 metre high waves, despite regional efforts to establish early warning systems after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that left about 230,000 dead or missing, including 170,000 in Aceh province, with the system currently only being in place in Sumatra.

The BBC reports that government officials said they received a warning that the island of Java was threatened by a tsunami following an underwater, 7.7 magnitude earthquake off the coast on Monday, July 17th. But they said they were unable to pass on the warning to coastal areas.

But commentators believe that many local residents, recognizing the signs of the tsunami from reports about Aceh, fled to higher ground as the sea receded before powerful waves came crashing ashore.

When the waves came, I heard people screaming and then I heard something like a plane about to crash nearby, and I just ran.

said Uli Sutarli, a plantation worker who was on Pangandaran beach.

The waves flung cars, motorbikes and boats into hotels and storefronts, flattened homes and restaurants, and flooded rice fields up to 500 metres from the sea along a stretch of the densely populated coastline. Most of the victims were farmers who were tending their fields near the coast and people at nearby food stalls or livestock handlers in the area, it is believed.

More than 50,000 people have been displaced due to the tsunami and are currently living in makeshift tents or on the floors of mosques. Some residents are reported to have fled Pangandaran today amid fresh but untrue rumours that another killer wave was about to hit.

Police and army teams with sniffer dogs and mechanical equipment today kept searching for survivors, but found only bodies amid the ruins, pushing the death toll to 531, said Maman Susanto, from the government's national disastercoordinating board. A further 275 people were listed as missing.

Meanwhile, today, between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Sunda Straits, a 6.2 magnitude quake struck. Unlikely to cause a tsunami the earthquake did however cause buildings in Jakarta to sway and shake and some amount of panic ensued. No damage has yet been reported.

As some of the most vulnerable and poorest people of Indonesia continue to have to face the consequences of natural disasters it might be useful to look at this story from Detik. Twenty three officials in the department of the vice president, Jusuf Kalla, today each received a Toyota Kijang Innova car, for use in their daily activities, valued at 123 million rupiah, or about $13,000. It is hoped that the giving of the cars will encourage the officials to do their jobs more "professionally", the report says. It's alright for some.


2 Comments on “Java Tsunami & Earthquakes”

  1. avatar Andrew says:

    It’s a big shame that the government did not do a thing – the Tsunami warning came from 2 sources 45 minutes before it struct.

    I guess there’s no such thing as “accountability” – no concept whatsoever – in Indonesia. What does the government think – life’s cheap?

    Again, no wonder the country is going downhill. Or even worse, down the drain.

  2. avatar Eddy says:

    I’ll definitely have to agree with Andrew. Indonesia is definitely going down the drain, along with the 23 new Kijang Innova cars given to 23 government officials in the department of the vice president. Such a shame.

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