WORLD / Asia-Pacific

Indonesia tsunami kills 350
Updated: 2006-07-19 06:19

PANGANDARAN, Indonesia, July 18 - A tsunami that swept through fishing villages and resorts on Indonesia's Java island killed 368 people and more than 200 others are missing, officials said on Tuesday.

A man wheels his bicycle past the devastated area of Pangandaran, Indonesia July 18, 2006.
A man wheels his bicycle past the devastated area of Pangandaran, Indonesia July 18, 2006. [Reuters]
More than 54,000 people have been displaced, they said.

There was no warning before the waves struck on Monday, despite efforts to set up warning systems after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami left 230,000 dead or missing, including 170,000 in Indonesia.

But many residents and tourists on the southern Java coast recognised the signs and fled to higher ground as the sea receded before huge waves came crashing ashore.

"When the waves came, I heard people screaming and then I heard something like a plane about to crash nearby and I just ran," Uli Sutarli, a plantation worker who was on hard-hit Pangandaran beach, told Reuters.

The waves washed cars, motorbikes and boats into hotels and storefronts, flattened homes and restaurants, and flooded rice fields up to 500 metres (550 yards) from the sea along a stretch of the densely populated coastline.

An official at the welfare ministry's disaster management centre said the death toll had climbed to 368 while 235 people were missing.

At least four non-Indonesians were among the dead. One was a Dutch national, health department officer Yuyun Ruhiyat said. She had no information about the other three.

Soldiers tried to retrieve bodies trapped under rubble on Tuesday. Metro TV reported several bodies were found in trees along Pangandaran beach near Ciamis town, 270 km (170 miles) southeast of Jakarta.


Anxious survivors lifted yellow sheets covering dozens of bodies lining a hospital floor as they searched for relatives in Pangandaran, which bore the brunt of the damage.
Page: 12


Related Stories