See More on Facebook


Sunda Strait tsunami: What we know so far

A round up by the Jakarta Post of what we know so far about the deadly event.

Written by

Updated: December 24, 2018

A tsunami hit Banten and Lampung on Saturday at 9:27 p.m. The tsunami was caused by an abnormal tidal wave surge due to a full moon and an underwater landslide following the eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano.

The tsunami reached as high as 3 meters, according to Rachmat Triyono, the head of the tsunami and earthquake division at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

As of Sunday afternoon, the death toll reached 222, while 843 people were injured and 28 were missing. Many of those killed were tourists.

Pandeglang regency in Banten, a popular tourist destination, was the worst-hit area. Other regencies hit by the tsunami are Serang in Banten and South Lampung in Lampung. In the latter, the four worst-hit subdistricts are Kalianda, Rajabasa, Sidomulyo and Katibung.

Most Indonesians are currently on holiday, and both Banten and Lampung with their scenic beaches are popular tourist destinations. Tanjung Lesung in Pandeglang is one of 10 national tourist destinations specifically promoted by the Tourism Ministry under a program called the 10 New Balis.

Here is what we know so far about the Sunda Strait tsunami:

Increasing volcanic activity

Anak Krakatau is a small volcanic island located in the Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Sumatra. It emerged from the ocean half a century after Krakatau’s deadly eruption in 1883, hence the term anak (child) in its name.

Anak Krakatau has seen small regular eruptions since June. The volcano was put on the second-highest alert level – caution – in 2012.

Anak Krakatau is not the only volcano showing increasing activity.

The Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG) announced earlier this week that 20 volcanoes in Indonesia had been showing above-average volcanic activity. The PVMBG had cautioned tourist management groups and local administrations, as volcanoes are popular tourist destinations.

Anak Krakatau is under 24-hour observation, along with Mount Sinabung and Mount Siputan, both in North Sumatra.

Bodies of victims recovered along Carita beach are placed in body bags on Sunday after the area was hit by a tsunami the night before following an eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano. (AFP/Semi)

Tsunami or tidal wave?

Soon after the news of a tsunami broke, social media were flooded by debates over whether it was a tsunami or a tidal wave.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho initially said in a tweet that has since been deleted that Banten was hit by a tidal wave due to a full moon and not a tsunami, since no earthquake had been detected. However, the statement was revised in a press conference later in the evening, when the agency confirmed that a tsunami had indeed occurred.

A tsunami is generally understood as a tidal wave caused by an earthquake, hence the confusion.

Sutopo tweeted an aerial video on Sunday, showing the damage the tsunami wrought in Lampung coastal areas.

The eruption of Anak Krakatau has been attributed as the cause of the tsunami. However, the connection between the volcano and the tsunami is still being studied.

Stronger eruptions of Anak Krakatau in the past had not resulted in tsunamis, according to the PVMBG. In a press statement, the center stated that, to trigger a tsunami, there needed to be a massive landslide into the sea.

A tweet from the United Nations Population Funds of Asia Pacific, shows an infographic of how volcanic activity can cause a tsunami.

Tsunami expert Ahmad Muhari said there were two possible causes for the tsunami: a landslide caused by the Anak Krakatau eruption or a sudden change in meteorological conditions, but he added that both theories had their limitations.

Indonesian Geologists Association (IAGI) chairman Sukmandaru said that, based on currently available data, he felt an underwater landslide was the best explanation for the tsunami.

“The Anak Krakatau eruption probably caused a tremor that resulted in a landslide on an underwater slope that in turn triggered the tsunami,” he told the Post on Sunday.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

The Jakarta Post
About the Author: The Jakarta Post is one of Indonesia's leading English-language daily newspapers.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


Internet healthcare serving homebound patients in China

Online consultations, pharmaceutical deliveries play vital role during outbreak. One recent rainy day, Wu Hong was waiting at the gate of her residential community in Wuhan, Hubei province. When a deliveryman with a bag of medicine came into sight, she was greatly relieved. Wu’s mother-in-law is a breast-cancer patient and needs to take medicine regularly. Wu’s father suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and inhalers have been in short supply. As the novel coronavirus epidemic grew more serious, Wu wasn’t permitted to take her family to the hospital for drug refills. She was left in a state of restless anxiety. On Feb 26, Wu and her husband saw a news segment on TV saying that the Wuhan government had enabled online reimbursement se

By China Daily
March 13, 2020


India’s Congress suffers setback after key leader defects to BJP

Move by Scindia and 22 legislators could trigger fall of Congress-led govt in central Madhya Pradesh state. The Congress has suffered a political setback following the resignation of Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia and 22 legislators in Madhya Pradesh state, deepening an existential crisis for a party that is struggling for political relevance in modern Indian politics. Mr Scindia, 49, an articulate leader, yesterday joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with legislators loyal to him expected to follow suit. The move could lead to the collapse of the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government. That would give the BJP a chance to form the government in the Hindi heartland state, which is seen as key objective for

By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020


Chinese Red Cross teams aid Iran’s COVID-19 fight

Humanitarian group to help Iranians with containment measures that worked in China. Voices on the other end of the line cut in and out due to a poor phone connection as officials at the Red Cross Society of China’s headquarters in Beijing attempted to talk to staff members on the ground in Iran on Tuesday morning. As the signal stabilised, the latest developments in controlling the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic in Teheran streamed into a conference room packed with Red Cross managers. Zhou Xiaohang, head of a five-member team-four medics and a Farsi interpreter sent to assist with COVID-19 control in Iran-said Iranians are increasingly taking precautions such as wearing face masks and washing their hands more often.

By China Daily
March 11, 2020


Shortage of Masks, Handwash due to panic- buying: Leave some for everyone

Despite repeated calls by global and local health experts and warnings from government, panic-buying grips the country. Global health experts have warned against hoarding masks, handwash and sanitisers during the coronavirus outbreak as it could worsen the situation by depriving those who might need them. Despite this, panic-buying of these products in Dhaka has been triggered by news of the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. Across the capital, several pharmacies and superstores have been facing a shortage of masks, antiseptic liquids and sanitisers since Sunday afternoon. The demand for tissue papers has also almost doubled overnight, some retailers claimed. Many of the retail stores, super shops and pharmacies in Karwan Bazar, M

By Daily Star
March 10, 2020


MH17 trial in Malaysia begins today

It was reported that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile while flying over the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. The trial will begin today. All eyes will be on the District Court of The Hague at the Schiphol Judicial Complex (JCS) in Badhoevedorp as the criminal proceeding against four men accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 begins. It was reported that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile while flying over the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board, comprising 43 Malaysians, 193 Dutch nationals and 27 Australians, were killed. Members of the Malaysian media here to cover the start of the trial were given a briefing by press secretary for the judge, Yolande Wijnnobel, on what to expect at the start of the much-awai

By The Star
March 9, 2020


OPINION: ‘Righteous’ women

So who is this ‘righteous’ woman that would never dare join Aurat Marchers? ‘TIS the season to be righteous, or so many prominent Pakistanis on TV and social media along with the religious right would have us believe. Pakistan suffers from hypocritical moral policing at the best of times — in homes, colleges and universities, places of religious worship, and the workplace — but the trigger for the current frenzy is the impending Aurat Marches in many cities of the country. Given that these marches only began three years ago, one can only marvel at how rapidly they have gotten under the proverbial skin of their highly agitated opponents. Enough has been said and written about the wider context of the marches and why they threaten the

By ANN Members
March 6, 2020