Death toll in Indonesia Tsunami hits 429


Tsunami effect in Indonesia’s Carita. Photo by Indonesia’s Social Affairs Ministry

Tsunami effect in Indonesia’s Carita. Photo by Indonesia’s Social Affairs Ministry

Indonesia says it will build a new warning system capable of detecting tsunamis caused by undersea landslides, days after giant waves triggered by a volcano killed at least 429 people.

Installation of the new structure of buoys would start next year, a government agency told the BBC.

It is thought that activity by the Anak Krakatau volcano set off undersea landslides, causing Saturday’s tsunami.

Officials say some 150 people are still missing and 16,000 have been displaced.

Rescue workers, helped by heavy lifting equipment, are going from village to village, sifting through the debris looking for survivors in badly hit areas on the islands of Sumatra and Java.

How will the new system work?
The new mechanism would work by detecting the size of waves, Iyan Turyana, a spokesman for the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology, told the BBC’s Indonesian service.

The existing technology failed to predict the tsunami that devastated coastal towns around the Sunda Strait, between the islands of Sumatra and Java.

The system has been set up to monitor earthquakes, but not undersea landslides and volcanic eruptions, which can also generate deadly waves.

Due to lack of funds, vandalism to the buoys and technical faults, there has been no operational tsunami warning system since 2012.

But experts say that even if there had been buoys near the volcano, there warning time would have been minimal, given how close Anak Krakatau is to the shoreline.

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