TSUNAMI LATEST: 429 now confirmed dead, 1,400 injured, 16,000 more displaced
THE death toll from the Indonesian tsunami has risen to 429, with thousands left homeless.
Prayers were said today for the tsunami victims, with Pastor Markus Taekzsaying saying his Rahmat Pentecostal Church in the hard-hit area of Carita did not celebrate Christmas with joyous songs.
Instead, he said only about 100 people showed up for the Christmas Eve service, usually attended by double that number.
Many congregation members had already left the area for the capital, Jakarta, or other locations away from the disaster zone.
“This is an unusual situation because we have a very bad disaster that killed hundreds of our sisters and brothers in Banten,” he said, referring to the Javanese province.
“So our celebration is full of grief.”
Church leaders called on Christians across Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, to pray for victims of the tsunami.
The death toll had climbed to 429 on Tuesday with more than 1,400 people injured and at least 128 missing after the tsunami slammed into parts of western Java and southern Sumatra islands.
A spokesperson for the Indonesia Disaster Mitigation Agency confirmed more than 16,000 people were displaced and that there is an urgent need for heavy equipment in remote Sumur subdistrict, a hard-to-reach area near Ujung Kulon National Park which experienced heavy damage.
Some villages there have been cut off due to damaged roads and bridges, making it difficult to supply aid and help people who may be injured or trapped.
Military troops, government personnel and volunteers are searching along debris-strewn beaches.
Where victims were found, yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out, and weeping relatives identified the dead.
Chunks of broken concrete and splintered wood littered the coast where hundreds of homes and hotels had stood.
The devastating tsunami followed an eruption and apparent landslide on Anak Krakatau, or Child of Krakatoa, a volcanic island that formed in the early part of the 20th century near the site of the cataclysmic 1883 eruption of Krakatoa.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and home to 260 million people, lies along the so-called Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
The massive eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 killed more than 30,000 people and hurled so much ash that it turned day to night in the area and reduced global temperatures.
Thousands were believed killed by a quake and tsunami that hit Sulawesi island in September, and an earlier quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people in August.