How the tsunami occurred without warning

CNN's Allison Chinchar explains how a volcano triggered the deadly tsunami in Indonesia.

Posted: Dec 24, 2018 3:45 PM
Updated: Dec 24, 2018 4:15 PM

As the threat of more deadly tsunamis casts a pall of fear over Indonesia, the country's National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Monday that more than 5,600 people are displaced.

That's on top of 373 killed, 1,459 injured and 128 missing.

Want to help victims of the tsunami?

Even if no more disasters like Saturday's tsunami strike the Java and Sumatra coasts, those numbers could still rise, as authorities work to gauge the scope of the disaster.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Indonesia expects the death toll to rise, spokeswoman Kathy Mueller said, explaining that the nonprofit is providing residents with basic household items, clean water and equipment to clear debris.

Doctors Without Borders also expects the number of injured to go up, as more victims were expected to arrive at hospitals over the coming days.

On top of the massive human toll, the property damage is also extensive. Early assessments indicate that 558 hotels were destroyed, and nine hotels, 60 restaurants and 350 boats suffered heavy damage.

Many factors

According to a conglomeration of agencies, the disaster was the product of multiple triggers: a volcanic eruption causing a 64-hectare (158-acre) chunk of Anak Krakatau to slide off the island volcano and into the ocean during a full moon at high tide.

The Sunda Strait, which runs between Java and Sumatra, has also experienced a spell of high rainfall, the agencies said.

The wave, which the local media described as 3 meters (10 feet) high, sent residents running for safety as beachfront homes were swept away.

Wave crashes through stage at concert

Anak Krakatau, located about 25 to 30 miles (roughly 40 to 50 kilometers) from the Java and Sumatra coastlines, continues to erupt, leaving many residents in fear that more monster waves could arrive on Indonesia's shores.

As long as the volcano remains active, residents should be vigilant, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency.

Why no warning?

Many witnesses said Saturday's tsunami struck with no warning, and President Joko Widodo, who was scheduled to visit the disaster zone Monday, has ordered the country's Meteorology, Climatology and Geological Agency to purchase detectors to provide early warnings to Indonesians.

The Indonesia Ministry of Maritime Affairs' censors "did not sound early warning because they are for tectonic activity not volcanic activity," spokesman Rahmat Djamaluddin said.

As for tsunami warnings, Sutopo provided a list of reasons for why the outdated tsunami buoy network hasn't functioned properly in six years.

"Vandalism, limited budget, technical damage caused no tsunami (alerts) at this time," he said on his official Twitter account.

Did tsunami warning system fail Indonesia again?

Officials also blamed the faulty warning system in October, when a tsunami killed more than 2,000 people on the western coast of Sulawesi.

Despite the devastating 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people, Indonesia lacks proper equipment to warn of an incoming tsunami.

Anak Krakatau is known for its 1883 eruption -- one of the deadliest in recorded history -- that killed more than 36,000 people.

Huntsville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 61°
Florence
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 67°
Fayetteville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
Scottsboro
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 63°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 137564

Reported Deaths: 2399
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19938351
Mobile13507293
Montgomery8866185
Tuscaloosa8837118
Madison798179
Shelby607449
Lee597161
Baldwin560650
Marshall397543
Calhoun355644
Etowah354845
Morgan333428
Houston293921
Elmore271948
DeKalb244321
St. Clair235936
Walker235485
Talladega217830
Limestone214420
Cullman191920
Dallas179826
Franklin179130
Autauga178727
Russell17683
Lauderdale175133
Colbert167726
Blount162115
Escambia161624
Jackson159712
Chilton159530
Covington140727
Dale140344
Coffee13716
Pike121611
Chambers117542
Tallapoosa117185
Clarke110316
Marion97529
Butler91740
Barbour8867
Winston75013
Marengo72620
Pickens67014
Randolph66613
Lowndes65927
Bibb65810
Hale64928
Geneva6444
Lawrence63425
Cherokee61713
Bullock60714
Clay5918
Monroe5908
Washington56012
Crenshaw54332
Perry5426
Conecuh53911
Wilcox53211
Henry5105
Macon48318
Fayette4689
Sumter43719
Cleburne3945
Lamar3822
Choctaw35112
Greene30515
Coosa1743
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 194611

Reported Deaths: 2420
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby31097466
Davidson26797311
Hamilton963495
Knox960579
Rutherford945290
Williamson536636
Sumner489598
Wilson356247
Putnam336541
Montgomery313344
Unassigned30444
Madison299265
Out of TN297727
Bradley297217
Sevier266415
Blount256324
Maury242725
Washington235538
Robertson223939
Sullivan223133
Hamblen194828
Tipton184519
Gibson172624
Trousdale16697
Hardeman158426
Wayne15015
Dyer142017
Bedford137317
Dickson128015
Coffee127713
Fayette122719
Cumberland121919
Weakley121620
Anderson121013
Obion120211
Loudon11996
Henderson119125
Carter118028
Greene116946
McMinn116325
Jefferson114414
Lawrence108913
Warren10777
Macon106721
Monroe106618
Hardin105516
Lauderdale100316
Haywood99821
Franklin99410
Lake9252
McNairy92518
Carroll91320
Roane9126
Bledsoe8624
White85510
Rhea85413
Hawkins82720
Cheatham8199
Marshall7815
Overton7706
Cocke75310
Smith74011
Johnson7323
Chester65011
Giles64417
Lincoln6331
Henry6309
Hickman6008
DeKalb57414
Marion5518
Fentress5463
Crockett54419
Decatur5347
Campbell4614
Claiborne4455
Polk40710
Grainger3943
Union3762
Benton3418
Jackson3325
Morgan3213
Grundy3176
Cannon2950
Unicoi2911
Humphreys2673
Sequatchie2441
Clay2355
Houston2343
Meigs2323
Stewart2212
Scott2192
Lewis2081
Moore1831
Van Buren1660
Perry1530
Pickett1262
Hancock1073

Community Events