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Tuesday , September 17 2019

AMIR OFFERS CONDOLENCES TO INDONESIA

Tsunami from Krakatau eruption kills 222

Debris littered a property badly damaged by a tsunami in Carita, Indonesia on Dec 23. The tsunami occurred after the eruption of a volcano around Indonesia’s Sunda Strait during a busy holiday weekend, sending water crashing ashore and sweeping away hotels, hundreds of houses and people attending a beach concert. (AP)

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 23, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has sent a cable of condolences to Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Sunday.

In the cable, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad expressed sincere grief towards victims of tsunami that hit Sunda Strait, leaving behind scores of casualties and injured, in addition to damage.

His Highness wished the injured quick recuperation and hoped the nation would be able to cope with consequences of the natural catastrophe. His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables to the Indonesia president.

The eruption of one of the world’s most infamous volcanic islands is believed to have triggered a tsunami that killed at least 222 people in Indonesia during a busy holiday weekend. The waves smashed onto beaches at night without warning, ripping houses and hotels from their foundations in seconds and sweeping terrified concertgoers into the sea.

More than 800 people were injured and dozens more missing after the tsunami hit around the Sunda Strait at 9:27 pm on Saturday, the Disaster Management Agency said. The toll could continue to rise because some areas had not yet been reached.

Scientists, including those from Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics agency, said Sunday that the tsunami could have been caused by underwater landslides or those occurring above ground on Anak Krakatau’s steep slope following its eruption.

The volcano’s name translates to “Child of Krakatoa,” a volcanic island formed over years after one of the largest, most devastating eruptions in recorded history occurred at the Krakatoa volcano more than a century ago.

The scientists also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon. Dramatic video posted on social media showed the Indonesian pop band “Seventeen” performing under a tent on a popular beach at a concert for employees of a state-owned electricity company.

Dozens of people sat listening at tables covered in white cloths while others bobbed to the music near the stage as bright strobe lights fl ashed and theatrical smoke was released.

A child could also be seen wandering through the crowd. Seconds later, with the drummer pounding just as the next song was about to begin, the stage suddenly heaved forward and buckled under the force of the water, tossing the band and its equipment into the audience.

The group released a statement saying their bass player, guitarist and road manager were found dead, while two other band members and the wife of one of the performers remained missing. “The tide rose to the surface and dragged all the people on site,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, when the current receded our members were unable to save themselves while some did not find a place to hold on.”

Tourists who were enjoying the long holiday weekend ahead of Christmas were also affected. “I had to run, as the wave passed the beach and landed 15-20m (meters, or 50-65 feet) inland,” Norwegian Oystein Lund Andersen wrote on Facebook. The self-described photographer and volcano enthusiast said he was taking pictures of the volcano when he suddenly saw the water racing toward him. He and his family fl ed safely to higher ground.

The Anak Krakatau volcano lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, linking the Indian Ocean and Java Sea. It erupted about 24 minutes before the tsunami, the geophysics agency said. The worst-affected area was the Pandeglang region of Java’s Banten province, which encompasses Ujung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, the disaster agency said.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 222 deaths had been confirmed and at least 843 people were injured. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expressed his sympathy and ordered government agencies to respond quickly to the disaster. “My deep condolences to the victims in Banten and Lumpung provinces,” he said. “Hopefully, those who are left have patience.” In the city of Bandar Lampung on Sumatra, hundreds of residents took refuge at the governor’s office, while at the popular resort area of Anyer beach on Java, some survivors appeared lost while wandering.

Azki Kurniawan, 16, said he was undergoing vocational training with a group of 30 other students at Patra Comfort Hotel when people suddenly burst into the lobby yelling, “Sea water rising!” With his eyes swollen and red from crying, he recalled being confused about what was happening because he did not feel a big earthquake, which usually serves as a warning before a tsunami strikes. He said he ran to the parking lot to try to reach his motorbike. But by the time he got there, it was already fl ooded. “Suddenly a 1-meter (3.3-foot) wave hit me,” he said.

“I was thrown into the fence of a building about 30 meters (100 feet) from the beach and held onto the fence as strong as I could, trying to resist the water, which felt like it would drag me back into the sea. I cried in fear… ‘This is a tsunami?’ I was afraid I would die.” The 305-meter (1,000-foot) – high Anak Krakatau volcano, located about 200 kms (124 miles) southwest of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, has been erupting since June, sometimes spewing glowing lava and tall columns of ash. In July, authorities widened its no-go areas to 2 kms (1.2 miles) from the crater.

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