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Earthquake Triggers Tsunami in Indonesia, 2006

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17 July 2006 Earthquake of Magnitude 7.7
Triggers Tsunami in South Java, Indonesia.
over 650 dead (23 July 2330 Hrs GMT)

17 July, 2006
An earthquake of 7.7 magnitude was felt for more than a minute, south of Java. The earthquake struck at 1519 Hrs local time. The earthquake occurred in the vicinity of Christmas Island, Tasikmalaya, Bandung and Jakarta. The location of the major earthquake is said to be 9.295S, 107.347E and the depth is 48.6 kilometres. There have been no immediate reports of damage or casualties. A tsunami warning has been set off for Java and the Australian territory of Christmas Island.

2330 Hrs GMT - 18 July 2006
The tsunami which was triggered by a 7.7 Richter scale magnitude undersea earthquake that struck off the resort of Pangandaran on Monday, 17 July 2006, causing a 2m-high wave has killed at least 341 people. Nearly 230 people are missing and many thousands of others have been displaced, Indonesian officials said. Indonesian police and troops are helping search for the missing. The death toll is expected to rise.

Doctors in the worst-affected region near Pangandaran have called for more medical supplies to be sent to help treat the hundreds of injured. In the resort of Pangandaran villagers searched through the rubble trying to find survivors, but instead recovered only bodies.

After the earthquake which triggered the tsunami, US and Japanese agencies issued tsunami alerts for parts of Indonesia and Australia.
But there was no reported local warning of the disaster, despite efforts to establish an early warning system in the wake of the Boxing Day 2004 Asian tsunami which killed more than 130,000 people in Indonesia.

0819GMT: 7.7 undersea earthquake triggers tsunami
0838GMT: International quake monitors send warnings, but no local alert systems in place
0915GMT: Waves around two metres high hit Java coast

The Jakarta government admitted last night that warnings of a possible tsunami from the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii and Japan's Meteorological Agency were not passed on by the Indonesian authorities.
Indonesia does not have a tsunami alert system in place, but with only a short time between warning and impact, it is open to question how many people could have been evacuated and whether many lives would have been saved.

Survivors of Monday's disaster spoke of a black wall of water engulfing them, causing destruction as far inland as half a kilometre.
At first light, rescuers were confronted with the sight of bodies in the branches of trees, and in the rubble of smashed hotels and houses.
At least 42,000 people were reported to have been displaced, either because their homes were destroyed or because they feared another tsunami.
Body bags and other essential items have begun to arrive, and relief aid such as tents and food are being sent for the thousands of people who have fled their homes.

The country sits on the seismically active Pacific "Ring of Fire", and experiences frequent earthquake.

On 27 May, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit near the city of Yogyakarta in Java, killing more than 5,800 people.

2330 Hrs GMT - 19 July 2006
Tsunami death toll rising
A series of strong aftershocks have sent hundreds of people on the Indonesian island of Java scrambling for high ground in fear of another tsunami.

The four aftershocks, measuring from 4.9 to 5.4 on the Richter Scale, came as the death toll from the giant waves that hit the island on Monday, the 17 July, is expected to cross 500.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.

In the resort of Pangandaran villagers searched through the rubble trying to find survivors, but instead recovered only bodies. Some survivors said they recognised the danger when the sea receded and fled, although in a grim echo of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami; others rushed out to pick up flapping fish stranded in the shallows.

When the wave thundered into the resort it swept boats, cars and people hundreds of yards inland. Searches are continuing for 273 people still missing after the tsunami broke on a 186-mile stretch of coast along southern Java.

At Pangandaran hospital a steady stream of injured arrived for treatment but doctors said they did not have enough equipment to cope. A Swedish man and a Dutch national are known to have died, with at least two other foreigners believed killed.

More than 50,000 people are estimated to have fled their homes for higher ground fearing an aftershock, some assembling makeshift shelters of bamboo and plastic.

2400 Hrs GMT - 23 July 2006
Tsunami death toll rises to 659
The death toll from the Indonesian Java tsunami of 17th July 2006 rose to 659 after emergency workers reached a previously inaccessible area along the southern coast of the island of Java.

An official at the Indonesian government's National Disaster Management Coordinating Board, said nearly 100 bodies were found in a district that had been cut off by a broken bridge. The toll climbed to 659 dead with more than 280 are missing. Some 74,000 residents have been displaced, either because their homes were destroyed or out of fear of living next to the sea.

A powerful earthquake on Monday, the 17th July 2006 sent huge waves crashing into a 175-kilometre stretch of Java's southern coast, destroying scores of houses, restaurants and hotels. Cars, motorbikes and boats were left mangled amid fishing nets, furniture and other debris.

Hardest hit was the popular beach resort of Pangandaran, where several foreign tourists were also among the victims.

Pangandaran beach resort in Ciamis regency of West Java province has been temporarily closed to the public as of July 20. The looting of hotels, cafes and houses in the tsunami-stricken tourist resort has prompted the Ciamis authorities to close the area temporarily.

With the temporary closure of the beach resort, outsiders are denied access to that area except the police, members of the Indonesian Military and rescue personnel. Journalists entering the beach resort for news coverage must be accompanied by security guards. Those who gain access to the resort are required to show their identity cards to security guards at the main entrance.

Bad weather forced Indonesian authorities to call off search efforts on Sunday, 23 July for the missing. With many believed swept out to sea, marine police and navy boats have been carrying out daily patrols in search of survivors, or more likely, the bodies of victims.

Health officials are worried about the threat of disease among the several thousands of people who are camping out in the hills above the tsunami-hit area. Health officials said that people were being given injections to protect them from diseases such as measles, tetanus and cholera.
But while people are opting to spend the night in temporary camps, they are returning to towns during the day to pick up supplies.
Many businesses in Pangandaran - the town hardest hit by the disaster - have begun to open up again.

Huge bonfires were lit on Saturday to clear the debris from the beach.
But as the clean up continues, so too does the search for victims.

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