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222 Dead, Hundreds Injured as Tsunami Strikes Java, Sumatra Islands

Residents inspect a house damaged by a tsunami, in Carita, Indonesia, Dec. 23, 2018.

A tsunami that struck late Saturday has killed over two hundred people along Indonesia's Sunda Straits.

"Two hundred twenty two people are dead, 843 people are injured and 28 people are missing," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Indonesia's national disaster agency spokesman.

Casualties are expected to rise.

The Indonesian Red Cross said, in a statement, that casualties "are expected to rise as assessments come in."

Nugroho agreed, saying "not all victims have been successfully evacuated, not all health centers have reported victims and not all locations have got complete data."

The casualties occurred in three regions — South Lampung in Sumatra and the Serang and Pandeglang regions of Java, west of the capital Jakarta — along the Sunda Strait, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNBP), said in a statement.

Hundreds of homes, nine hotels and 10 boats were damaged, BNBP said Sunday.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reported an eruption of Krakatoa, a local volcano, about 9 p.m. Saturday local time, and the tsunami struck a short time later, about 9:30 p.m.

“The cause of the tsunami was due to a combination of undersea landslides after the eruption of Mount Anak Krakatoa and the tidal wave caused by the full moon," according to BMKG. However, the Indonesian Geological Agency said that they can't confirm if the tsunami was triggered by the eruption of Krakatoa, since that mountain has been erupting since last June – with even greater strength – and never caused a tsunami.

The waves reached as high as 30 to 90 centimeters, according to the Red Cross.

Disaster agency head Endan Permana told local media that many people were missing in tourist locale of Tanjung Lesung, Banten province, near Jakarta.

The Red Cross said Banten is one of the "worst affected areas." The aid organization, however, said it was able to dispatch "relief goods" from its Banten warehouse, including water, tarpaulins, cleaning equipment, plus family and hygiene kits.

Indonesia's Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Sumatra.
Indonesia's Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Sumatra.

On Sept. 28, a quake and tsunami that hit near the city of Palu, on the island of Sulawesi, killed more than 2,500 and displaced about 70,000.

On Dec. 26, 2004, an earthquake in the Indian Ocean triggered a tsunami that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

VOA's Indonesian Service contributed to this report.