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Tsunami devours 105 in Indonesia

The killer waves wreak havoc, causing huge damage to property in Java island.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2006 09:07 IST
Agencies

A powerful earthquake sent a two-metre high tsunami crashing into beach resorts along Indonesia's Java island on Monday, killing at least 105 people and causing extensive damage to hotels, restaurants and homes, witnesses and officials said. Scores others are missing.

Thousands of people fled to higher ground along a 180-kilometre stretch of the densely populated island's southern coast, some shouting "tsunami, tsunami!" and climbing trees or crowding into mosques to pray.

Indonesia was the worst hit country by the 2004 tsunami and has installed a warning system across much of Sumatra island, but not on Java, which just seven weeks ago was hit by a powerful quake that killed thousands.

The extent of damage from Monday's wave was not immediately clear, police said, with roads blocked and power cut to much of the area.

A witness in Pangandaran resort, which according to initial reports appeared to be hardest hit, told The Associated Press she saw around 20 bodies piled up at a local health clinic.

Officials at the clinic could not immediately be reached for comment. Earlier, police and other witnesses said they saw up to six corpses among the debris, but it was not clear if they were part of the same toll.

India on high alert

The coastal districts of Tamil Nadu have been put on high alert in the wake of the severe undersea earthquake in Indonesia on Monday.

Though there was no threat of the deadly December 2004 tsunami revisiting India, Monday's quake off the Indonesian island of Java measuring 7.2 on Richter scale triggered some anxious moments initially in the coastal districts.

As TV screens flashed the news of the severe quake, people in the coastal districts got unnerved about the possible revisit of the killer waves which wrought havoc on December 26 "Black Sunday," in which nearly 10,000 people were killed.

Life was normal in Nagapattinam, which alone accounted for over 6,000 deaths in the 2004 tragedy and also in Chennai, Cuddalore, Kanniyakumari and Kancheepuram Districts.

But the Collectors of these districts did not want to leave anything to chance.

When contacted, they said the administration was on high alert though they had not issued any forma tsunami warning to the public as there was no such threat to India.

Cuddalore District Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi told UNI that there was no tsunami alert for India. "We have checked with the top government officials. But we are on high alert."

"After getting the information about the quake in Java island, we have alerted all officials. Besides, police and revenue machinery have been geared up," he said.

However, no alert had been issued to public as it would lead to needless panic.

"The control room is also on alert and in the event of any emergency, we are fully geared to evacuate the people living near the sea shore," he added.