See More on Facebook

Current affairs, Environment

Fresh eruption causes panic as search and rescue teams struggle to reach remote villages

Many still have not returned to their homes and are living in makeshift shelters.


Written by

Updated: December 26, 2018

A fresh eruption at the Anak Krakatau volcano that caused last weekend’s deadly tsunami sent residents fleeing from the Java coastline on Tuesday (Dec 25) afternoon.

Locals and officials alike in Sumur, among the areas worst hit by the tsunami, scrambled for higher ground after hearing a booming sound at about 2.40pm local time.

Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), told The Straits Times that the sound was caused by a fresh eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano.

The tsunami struck at night and without warning. At least 429 people have been killed.

Compounding the misery, pouring rains and mud-covered roads are slowing down rescue efforts in the remotest villages hit by Saturday’s tsunami.

Search and rescue teams managed to gain access to villages in Cigeulis and Sumur, both in Banten’s Pandeglang regency, only on Monday. The two sub-regencies were the worst hit by the tsunami, which occurred at night without warning after a part of the Anak Krakatau volcano collapsed undersea.

Damaged bridges and blocked roads had previously prevented rescuers, let alone excavators and heavy machinery, from reaching the villages. Rescuers, aid trucks and excavators finally arrived at many of the villages on Tuesday morning after taking detours, although some are still cut off.

The car that took The Straits Times’ journalists to the area had to go through a sandy beach to bypass a road cut off by a collapsed bridge, and then make its way through stone-strewn village roads.

A group of about 10 residents in Cikujang village, in Cigeulis, were seen removing the rubble of a collapsed house by hand in search of a missing 14-year-old schoolgirl.

Finding no signs of the child, the group then went on to a nearby creek and tried to clear a high pile of rubble.

“We need an excavator,” said Mr Nasan, a community leader in his 60s in Cikujang village. Of the village’s 104 residents, five were killed and one remained missing.

Most villagers had heard a roaring sound before the tsunami hit, and ran to a hill just across the road to seek refuge, said Mr Nasan.

Mr Maskani, a 26-year-old resident, said his little sister Nur was the 14-year-old the villagers were trying to locate in the rubble.

“I was building a chicken cage. My mother and wife were building the house roof out of coconut leaves. My father told me to check where a roaring sound was coming from. We thought it was different from the sound of a passing truck or from a boat engine,” Mr Maskani told The Straits Times.

He said his mother ran back inside the house to get Nur, but neither made it out in time.

His father and his wife were injured while he himself was injured in the back and chest after being pinned between trees.

Residents in Sumur Legon village in Sumur were luckier. The village was partially protected from the tsunami by two islets, one of which – Oar Islet – is a popular snorkelling spot.

Fishermen packing their catch on the beach had also raised the alert that the tsunami was coming. The village did not suffer any deaths as a result.

But still, residents were mourning the loss of their homes.

Ms Tati Maryati, a 35-year-old mother of three, pointed to a flattened spot and told The Straits Times:”We have no house.”

She said she felt lucky that none of her family members fell victim to the tsunami. She recounted how she and her husband each swiftly carried one of their two youngest kids to higher ground as soon as they heard fishermen from the beach shouting “tsunami” repeatedly.

“Our oldest son was at a night market about 1km from here. He was spotted seeking shelter on top of a coconut tree that night. People had to bring him down as he could not climb down the tree himself,” Ms Tati said of her 12 year-old child.

Thick ash clouds continued to spew from Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island where a crater collapse at high tide on Saturday, displacing a large volume of water and sending tsunamis smashing into coastal areas on both sides of the Sunda Strait between the islands of Sumatra and Java.

At least 154 people remained missing, BNPB said on Tuesday. Nearly 1,500 people were injured, and more than 16,000 residents had to move to higher ground, with a high-tide warning extended to Wednesday.

BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Monday night that a joint team of personnel from various government agencies and the military would evacuate most of the victims’ bodies from remote villages by Tuesday.

At least 36 bodies had been found in the villages of the Sumur sub-regency, Dr Sutopo said.

The worst-hit Pandeglang regency boasts hotels and cottages frequented by mostly local tourists for the area’s beaches, snorkelling and water sports.

Holiday-goers also enjoyed seeing the magnificent Anak Krakatau volcano’s occasional eruptions, with ash spewing and light glinting right above its crater.

Indonesia is divided into 34 provinces, which comprise regencies and cities.



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

Current affairs, Environment

Japan: Koizumi offers no concrete plan on coal

The new environment minister needs to offer better ways to tackle climate change.  During a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday, Shinjiro Koizumi, the Environment Minister did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation. Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation, for which construction of new plants is currently underway in Japan, during a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday. “I am afraid I cannot share new development on our coal policy today,” Koizumi said at the ongoing 25th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate


By The Japan News
December 13, 2019

Current affairs, Environment

Myanmar running out of time to cope with climate change, warns historian Thant Myint-U

Myanmar is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change and is grossly unprepared to deal with the consequences. WASHINGTON – Myanmar is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change, and is grossly unprepared to deal with the consequences, warns historian Dr Thant Myint-U. The Myanmar historian, author and conservationist was in the United States recently to speak on his most recent book examining race, capitalism and the crisis of democracy in Myanmar titled “The Hidden History of Burma”. In an interview for the online video and podcast Asian Insider, Dr Thant told The Straits Times the threat of climate change tipped his ledger towards pessimism about the country’s future. “I think whatever we think of the ledger in general, perhaps it comes to 50/50,” he said. “When you add on


By The Straits Times
December 9, 2019

Current affairs, Environment

SAARC turns 35 but has very little to show for its age

The regional bloc of seven South Asian countries and Afghanistan has largely been held hostage to the rivalry between India and Pakistan, say analysts. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation might have turned 35 but its three-and-a-half decades of existence has largely failed to advance its own central tenet—regional cooperation. As SAARC marked its 35th anniversary with a flurry of congratulatory messages from heads of government, expressing their commitment to regional cooperation, many analysts and diplomats wonder if these promises will ever translate into action. The regional association has failed to hold its 19th summit, ever since 2016 when India sud


By The Kathmandu Post
December 9, 2019

Current affairs, Environment

Climate Change: Bangladesh 7th worst-hit nation

The country is at risk from cyclones and flooding. Bangladesh is seventh among the 10 countries worst hit by extreme weather events, says a global climate report. Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti top the list which has three South Asian countries and seven Asian nations, according to the Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) 2020 that analysed data from 1999 and 2018. Germanwatch, a Berlin based non-profit environmental research organisation, released the report yesterday on the sidelines of The Conference of the Parties (COP-25) meet in Madrid, Spain. In the previous report that examined data between 1998 and 2017, Bangladesh was at the ninth position. The study looked at four indicators — death toll, number of events, loss of property of each person and loss of gross domestic product. The CRI 2020 is based on the loss figures of 181 countries, it said. The report also said Japan, th


By Daily Star
December 5, 2019

Current affairs, Environment

Typhoon Tisoy touches down in the Philippines

The typhoon may affect the Southeast Asian games which is currently underway. Typhoon Tisoy slightly weakened early Tuesday morning as it bears down on Burias Island but it remains strong and destructive, the weather bureau reported. In its 5 a.m. Severe Weather Bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that Tisoy’s eyewall is currently bringing violent winds and intense rainfall over Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, and Masbate. Its eyewall is also expected to affect Southern Quezon, Romblon, and Marinduque in the next three hours. Frequent to continuous heavy to intense (with isolated torrential) rains will be experienced in the Bicol Region, Romblon, Marinduque, Mindoro Provinces, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Bataan, Pampanga and Bulacan between Tuesday early morning and late afternoon, Pagasa said. Occasional to frequent heavy


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 3, 2019

Current affairs, Environment

Why Hong Kong residents turned out in record numbers to vote

Many say events of past 5 months galvanised their desire to exercise their democratic right. Amid mild autumn weather and under a clear blue sky in Lek Yuen, the oldest public housing estate in Hong Kong’s Sha Tin, a snaking queue formed outside the community hall shortly after dawn yesterday. It was the constituency’s polling station of the day, and hundreds were in the line before the opening time of 7.30am to vote for their district councillor, one of the lowest rungs of Hong Kong’s elected offices. The scene was repeated across the territory’s 18 districts, where nearly three million people showed up to vote in elections that are usually a quiet affair, with chosen officials confined to dealing with noise complaints and local infrastructure improvement projects. The officials, however, also represent 117 of the 1,200-strong Election Committee that chooses the city̵


By The Straits Times
November 25, 2019