Death toll from Indonesia tsunami rises to 281

The death toll from a volcano-triggered tsunami in Indonesia has risen to 281, with more than 1,000 people injured, the national disaster agency said on Monday

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NH Web Desk

The death toll from a volcano-triggered tsunami in Indonesia has risen to 281, with more than 1,000 people injured, the national disaster agency said on Monday, December 24, as the desperate search for survivors ramped up.

"The number of victims and damage will continue to rise," said agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the wave, which slammed into the coast of southern Sumatra and the western tip of Java about 9:30 pm (1430 GMT) on Saturday after a volcano known as the "child" of Krakatoa erupted.

According to Indonesia's geological agency, Anak Krakatoa had been showing signs of heightened activity for days, spewing plumes of ash thousands of metres into the air.

Indonesia is prone to tsunamis because it lies on the Ring of Fire - the line of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.

In September, more than 2,000 people died when a powerful earthquake struck just off the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu.

On 26 December 2004, a series of huge waves triggered by a powerful earthquake in the Indian Ocean killed about 2,28,000 people in 14 countries, mostly in Indonesia. However, tsunamis caused by volcanic activity like this are less frequent.

Tsunamis triggered by volcanic eruptions are relatively rare, caused by the sudden displacement of water or "slope failure", according to the International Tsunami Information Centre.

Unlike those caused by earthquakes, which trigger alert systems, these tsunamis give authorities very little time to warn residents of the impending threat.

with agency inputs.

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