The governments of Egypt and South Africa joined others Monday in extending their condolences to the people of Indonesia following the sudden tsunami that struck its coastlines on Saturday night.
The tsunami hit about 9:30 p.m. local time along the tips of the Sumatra and Java islands, following an eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait between the two. The death toll Monday stood at 373, with about 1,500 people injured and more still missing. Satellite images showed a massive landslide rather than an earthquake caused the tsunami, which remains under investigation.
That there was no earthquake meant there was no warning for thousands enjoying holiday at the beach. Casualties and damage occurred in Pandeglang, Serang, South Lampung, Tanggamus and Pesawaran, according to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, seen above while touring Carita Pearl Beach.
“The thoughts of the people of South Africa are with the people of Indonesia during this difficult period and the South African government extends its sympathy to those families who have lost their loved ones,” said DIRCO, the South African foreign ministry in Pretoria.
Egypt also extended its condolences on Monday, promising to stand by Indonesians in this difficult time.
While much smaller in scope, the December 22 tsunami reminded many of the Christmas tsunami in 2004, which followed a 9.1-magnitude earthquake off the northern Sumatran coast. That tsunami claimed an estimated 230,000 lives, including Africans when waves reached the continent some eight hours later. Kenya, Somalia, South Africa and Tanzania were among those directly impacted, as were the island nations of Seychelles and Madagascar.
South Africa also lost at least 14 people who were in Thailand at the time in 2004. No South Africans appear to be affected by the latest tragedy, DIRCO said.
Image: President Joko Widodo