Indonesia re-routes flight as volcano alert level upgraded

Geraldine Edwards
December 28, 2018

All flights around Indonesia's Anak Krakatau volcano have been re-routed and the alert level has been raised to the second-highest possible after a series of eruptions spewed out lava.

Insurance payments to compensate damage caused by the tsunami that hit Indonesia earlier in December may exceed $1 billion, media reported on Thursday citing data from local insurance companies.

More than 1400 others were injured when a 6ft wave slammed into the coast of Java and Sumatra on Saturday evening, shortly after a large eruption of the Anak Kratakatau volcano, which lies in the Sunda Strait between the two islands.

Qurnaty, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, prayed with surviving family members at a mass grave there on today's anniversary.

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Thousands of people are living in temporary shelters like mosques of schools, with dozens sleeping on the floor.

"I am scared, I am traumatized by the tsunami that I only knew before from the news".

Sniffer dogs are being used to find those still missing as grief-stricken relatives lined up at identification centers.

"The Air Nav has issued a notam ruling about the re-routing flight at the pathway which cannot be passed by aircraft", said Polana B. Pramesti, director general of Air Transport of Indonesian Transport Ministry.

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The latest tsunami, coming during the Christmas season, evoked memories of the Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an natural disaster on December 26, 2004, which killed 226,000 people in 14 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

"I didn´t have time to save my mother and son", the weeping 46-year-old told AFP from a shelter in one of the stricken region´s hardest-hit areas.

The agency would start monitoring even small earth movements from now on, Rahmat said, and issue warnings if something similar happened again.

A Red Cross spokesperson told CNN that thousands of people had evacuated from islands in the Sunda Strait as a result. "I didn't get information from anywhere", he said, adding there had been little help for residents since disaster struck.

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Officials also said the danger level of the volcano, which triggered the tsunami, was increased as well. In July and August, major earthquakes on Lombok island killed hundreds of people, while in September a devastating earthquake-tsunami claimed more than 2,000 lives in Palu on Sulawesi island.

Anak Krakatoa is an island that emerged around 1928 in the crater left by Krakatoa, whose massive 1883 eruption killed at least 36,000 people.

The death toll from a tsunami that struck parts of Java and Sumatra over the weekend has reached 429, with 154 others still missing, Indonesia's disaster management agency said Tuesday, as search area expands to outlying areas cut off by the disaster.

A state of emergency has been declared until January 4, which authorities hope will make it easier to deploy assistance, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson for the national disaster mitigation agency.

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The country is prone to earthquakes due to the 18,000-island archipelago being located directly on the so-called Ring of Fire, which is an arc of fault lines and volcanoes in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.

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