2018 Sunda Strait tsunami

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2018 Sunda Strait tsunami
A map of the region, with areas affected in blue.
Date22 December 2018
Timearound 21:38 WIB
(14:38 UTC)
LocationSunda Strait, Indonesia
Coordinates6°06′11″S 105°25′23″E / 6.103°S 105.423°E / -6.103; 105.423Coordinates: 6°06′11″S 105°25′23″E / 6.103°S 105.423°E / -6.103; 105.423
Non-fatal injuries1,459[1]
Property damage2,752 houses and 510 ships[3]

On 22 December 2018, a tsunami that followed an eruption and partial collapse of the Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait struck several coastal regions of Banten in Java and Lampung in Sumatra, Indonesia. At least 437 people were killed and 1,459 were injured.[1] The tsunami was caused by an undersea landslide that followed an eruption of Anak Krakatau, the "Child of Krakatoa".[4] On 23 December, it was found that much of the island of Anak Krakatau had collapsed into the sea.[5]


Anak Krakatau in 2013

Lying on the Ring of Fire, Indonesia experiences a high frequency of earthquakes and is home to 127 active volcanoes. One of these volcanoes is Anak Krakatau (literally "Child of Krakatau"), an active volcano in the Sunda Strait. Anak Krakatau emerged from the sea in 1927, some time after the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, one of the most violent eruptions in recorded history. Through tsunamis and ash fall, the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa killed more than 36,000 people, many of whom lived in the same regions where the 2018 tsunami struck.[6][7]

In the months leading up to the 2018 tsunami, Anak Krakatau had seen increased activity, with an eruption on 21 December lasting more than two minutes and producing an ash cloud 400 metres (1,300 ft) high.[6]

A catastrophic tsunami in 2004 happened around the same time of year, occurring on 26 December after an undersea megathrust earthquake near the north end of Sumatra. That tsunami caused more widespread damage throughout the rim of the Indian Ocean, with countries such as Thailand and Sri Lanka being severely affected.[8]


The Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (PVMBG) recorded a tremendous increase in activity of Anak Krakatau. On 22 December, from 12.00 to 18.00 local time, a total of 423 eruptions were recorded by the agency. The danger level of the volcano was increased to Level 2. Authorities warned people not to conduct any activities within 2 km of the volcano.[9]

On 22 December 2018, at 21:03 local time (14:03 UTC), Anak Krakatau erupted and damaged local seismographic equipment, though a nearby seismographic station detected continuous tremors.[10] The eruption caused the collapse of the southwest portion of the volcano, which triggered a tsunami. Officials stated that approximately 64 hectares of the volcano had collapsed into the ocean.[11] The collapse caused the height of the volcano to be reduced from 338 m to 110 m.[12]

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) detected a tsunami around 21:27 local time (14:27 UTC) at the western coast of Banten, even though the agency had not detected any preceding tectonic events.[13] The Indonesian National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said, "Dozens of buildings were destroyed by the wave, which hit beaches in Lampung and Banten about 21:30 local time (14:30 UTC) on Saturday."[7] According to The Jakarta Post, authorities said that the tsunami "may have been triggered by an abnormal tidal surge due to a full Moon and an underwater landslide following the eruption of Anak Krakatau."[7] The Agency initially refused to label the event as a tsunami, claiming that it was a "normal" high tide and that no tsunami had occurred on the coast of Banten.[14]

Previously, BMKG had issued a high wave warning for the waters of the strait.[15] Tide gauges measured the tsunami at around 90 centimetres (35 in) in Serang and 30 centimetres (12 in) in Lampung,[16] on top of the two-metre (6 ft 7 in) high tide.[17] While Indonesia possesses a tsunami warning system for tsunamis caused by earthquakes, there is none for volcanic tsunamis. Hence there were no early warnings.[18] On 23 December, satellite data and helicopter footage confirmed that the southwest sector of the volcano had collapsed, which triggered the tsunami, and that the main volcanic conduit was erupting from underwater, producing Surtseyan-style activity.[19]

The waves struck about 312.75 kilometres (194.33 mi) of coastline with various heights. [3] In Carita, the waves reportedly struck with a height of at least 2 m, while in Tanjung Lesung a height of more than 5 m was reported.[20] Further surveys conducted on 31 December by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, with assistance from Tohoku University and Chuo University, revealed that the tsunami struck the coastline of Banten and Lampung at a height of 13 m.[21][22]


The aftermath of the tsunami at the venue of Seventeen's beachfront concert

The Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) initially reported 20 deaths and 165 injuries.[7] By the following day, the figure had been revised to 43 deaths — 33 in Pandeglang, seven in South Lampung, and three in Serang Regencies, with 584 injured, and two missing; most of the injuries recorded (491) also occurred in Pandeglang. The areas of Pandeglang Regency struck by the wave included beaches that are popular tourist destinations, such as Tanjung Lesung. The tsunami struck during peak season, where hundreds had arrived to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holiday.[10][23] The death toll was further updated to 62 with 20 missing persons later that day.[24] Missing persons were also reported from small islands that are part of Pandeglang Regency.[25] By 13:00 local time on 23 December, BNPB had confirmed 168 fatalities and 745 injuries with 30 having been reported as missing,[6] and the figure was further increased to 281 dead and 1,016 injured.[26] As of 31 December, the death toll was 437, with 14,059 reported injured and 24 missing.[1][27]

Indonesian officials stated that most of those who died were found inside villas and hotels, especially those located at Carita Beach, Banten. At least 24 people were killed inside a single villa in Carita, with dozens more reportedly found inside other villas.[28] Indonesian Navy stated that dozens of bodies were also recovered from the sea.[29]

Among the victims were Aa Jimmy, an Indonesian actor and comedian,[30] and several members of the Indonesian band Seventeen — bassist Awal "Bani" Purbani, guitarist Herman Sikumbang, road manager Oki Wijaya, and crewmember Ujang. After a few hours, drummer Windu Andi Darmawan and Dylan Sahara, wife of Seventeen's vocalist Ifan, were reported to have been found dead.[31] A video circulated online showing the band's stage being struck by the tsunami in the middle of their show at Tanjung Lesung, causing it to collapse and the audience to flee. Officials confirmed that dozens of concert-goers had been killed by the tsunami. [32] Tour groups from state-owned company PLN and the Sports and Youth Ministry were also affected by the tsunami. It was confirmed that 260 people had attended the gathering event, where the Seventeen concert was being held. On 23 December, officials from the company stated that at least 14 people related to the PLN had been killed, 89 people from the company had been declared missing and more than 150 had been injured by the tsunami.[33][34] This number later rose to 23 in the afternoon.[35] On 25 December, it was announced that 43 people from PLN had been killed, while 156 others survived. Most of them were killed while watching the Seventeen concert.[36]


Widespread damages were reported throughout southern Lampung and the eastern coast of Banten, particularly in Pandeglang. More than 400 structures, including villas and resorts, were heavily damaged or destroyed by the tsunami. In Sumur District, Pandeglang Regency, a village was virtually wiped out by the tsunami. 7 other villages in Pandeglang were also regarded as the most heavily affected villages, with more than 50% of the buildings damaged or destroyed.[37] There were widespread reports of blackout in the affected areas in Banten. The Indonesian state owned electric company PLN reported that at least 248 of their power stations were affected and 41 power lines were toppled by the tsunami.[38] However, there were no electricity problems reported in Lampung.[39] The road connecting Serang and Pandeglang was cut off.[40] South Lampung Regency was the worst affected regency in Lampung, with 4 districts: Kalianda, Rajabasa, Sidomulyo, and Katibung, were listed as the most heavily affected districts.[41][10][42]

The tsunami however didn't damage much vital infrastructure.[43] Telecommunications in Banten and Lampung were not affected, even though there were reports that several base transceiver station were temporarily inoperable.[44]

As the tsunami struck the region popular with tourist, the Indonesian tourism industry was hit hard.[45] 90% of reservations in Anyer, Banten was cancelled due to the tsunami.[46] Travel industry throughout the country reported a drop in reservations and incomes.[47] Popular beaches in South Lampung had to be closed due to the tsunami.[48] As another tsunami had struck Indonesia on September, the presence of another tsunami in December caused substansial fears among Indonesians to travel to or near the beach. The Indonesian government stated that the tsunami caused an estimated total damage of 150 million rupiah in Tanjung Lesung alone, which is a popular tourist hotspot located in Pandeglang Regency.[49]


Soldiers were dispatched to assist in the search and rescue efforts.

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo ordered immediate field response by BNPB, the Social Ministry, and the Indonesian National Armed Forces.[50] The Ministry of Tourism temporarily halted all promotion for tourism to Lampung and Banten.[51] An emergency response period was set up, spanning two weeks for Pandeglang and a week for South Lampung.[52]

The Indonesian Central Government stated that aids worth of 1 million rupiah would be provided to the local governments in Banten and Lampung.[53] The Government of Serang Regency provided aid funds of 4 million rupiah for the rehabilitation process.[54] On 27 December, the Indonesian Government announced that additional aids worth of 1 million rupiah would be sent to the survivors. The Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs announced that 7 "makeshift kitchens" were set up across Pandeglang, while 5 others were set up in Lampung. In Lampung, the governor's residence was declared as a crisis center and as a evacuation center.[55]

Following the tsunami, a malfunction caused the tsunami warning siren at a Pandeglang village to ring and prompted residents to evacuate.[56]

In response to the tsunami, Facebook activated its safety check.[57] In social media, thousands of Indonesians offered their condolences and started online fundraising.[58] Charity lines were set up and charity concerts were also conducted throughout the country.[59][60][61] Prayer services for the victims were also held throughout the country.[62][63]

Hours after the event, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison offered aid for the affected areas.[64] Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also offered condolences and help.[65][66] Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also offered assistance.[67] Singaporean President Halimah Yacob and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also sent a letter of condolence to President Joko Widodo.[68]

See also[edit]


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