Tsunami-hit tourist route Anyer beach-Tanjung Lesung reopens

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The route between Anyer beach area and Tanjung Lesung in Banten has returned to normal following the closure caused by the Sunda Strait tsunami on Saturday.

According to the latest report, the road is currently passable for people either from Cilegon city or Pandeglang regency.

“There’s no more debris blocking the road,” Tourism Crisis Center head Guntur Sakti told tempo.co, adding that the accessibility was thanks to a joint effort by the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police (Polri), the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) and other related agencies.

The locals who reside along Anyer beach and Tanjung Lesung are said to have lent a hand to clear the debris. Public facilities along the route are reportedly still being cleaned up.

The tsunami has caused damage to buildings in several areas. In Pandeglang regency, for instance, the waves have ruined 69 hotels and villas as well as 60 food stalls and stores. However, the area that is devastated the most is Carita. Eighty-five percent of Mutiara Carita, one of the hotels in the area, has been destroyed, including the property’s 35 cottages and 24 rooms.

Another place, Sambolo Beach Bungalow, was also heavily damaged with only three out of 31 bungalows left unharmed. Both Rika Sambolo villa and Lucia Cottage also face a similar situation.

Guntur said around 50 percent of the hotels in the area were safe, but currently Carita has not yet welcomed any new guests. (wir/kes)

Extreme Weather

However, the authorities warned on Wednesday of “extreme weather and high waves” around the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano, urging people to stay away from the coast already devastated by a tsunami that killed more than 400 people.

Clouds of ash spewed from Anak Krakatau, almost obscuring the volcanic island where a crater collapse at high tide on Saturday sent waves up to 5 meters high smashing into the coast on the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra.

The Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said late on Tuesday that the rough weather around the volcano could make its crater more fragile.

“We have developed a monitoring system focused specifically on the volcanic tremors at Anak Krakatau so that we can issue early warnings,” BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati said, adding that a 2-kilometer exclusion zone had been imposed.

The confirmed death toll is 429, with at least 154 people missing. More than 1,400 people were injured and thousands have moved to higher ground.

The vast archipelago, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, has suffered its worst annual death toll from disasters in more than a decade.The latest disaster, coming during the Christmas season, evoked memories of the Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, which killed 226,000 people in 14 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

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(The Jayakarta Villas, Anyer Beach resort)

The Saturday evening tsunami followed the collapse of an area of the volcanic island of about 64 hectares, or about 90 football pitches.

The waves generated engulfed fishing villages and holiday beach parties at resorts, leaving a coast littered with crushed vehicles, felled trees. Chunks of metal, wooden beams and household items have been strewn across roads and rice fields.

In 1883, the volcano then known as Krakatoa erupted in one of the biggest blasts in recorded history, killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis, and lowering the global surface temperature by 1 degree Celsius with its ash.

Anak Krakatau (child of Krakatau) is the island that emerged from the area in 1927 and has been growing ever since.

Rescuers were trying on Wednesday to reach several villages still inaccessible by road.

Thousands of people are staying in tents and temporary shelters like mosques or schools, with dozens sleeping on the floor or in crowded public facilities.

Ayub, a 20-year-old fisherman sleeping with his family in a tent provided by the military, said conditions were not ideal due to the rain, but that they had enough to eat.

“Everything is destroyed… My boat, motorcycle, house – all of it,” he told Reuters. “The most important thing is, we’re alive.”

(Reuters, The Jakarta Post)