December’s eruption of Mount Anak Krakatau ended in tragedy and disaster in the Sunda Strait waterway of Indonesia. More than 400 people have been confirmed dead, over 800 injured, 20 missing and over 40,000 people displaced. According to Indonesia’s disaster management agency, the worst hit areas of the tsunami are beaches in Pandeglang regency, Serang and South Lampung.
Mount Anak Krakatau, Indonesian for ‘Child of Krakatoa’, is an island volcano located in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Indonesian province of Lampung. Located in the active ‘Ring of Fire’, the volcano sits in the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions frequently occur. The Ring of Fire has 452 volcanoes, and 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur in this area. Mount Anak Krakatau was created by regular eruptions after 1929, where lava flow was so significant that the waves could not erode them fast enough.
The catastrophic nature of the eruption is reflected in how its 340m high stature now stands at only 110m. The tsunami is believed to have been triggered by a part of the crater collapsing which caused an underwater landslide. There were no previous tremors to indicate that the tsunami was coming, because of this authorities were not anticipating the impending threat.
In September 2018, more than 2,000 people were killed by an earthquake and tsunami that hit the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi. In 2004, a tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and killed 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 people in Indonesia.
The humanitarian response to the eruption of Mount Anak Krakatau has included aid agencies evacuating and treating the injured, as well as providing clean water, tarpaulins and shelter. All flights around the volcano had been rerouted and a 5km exclusion zone has been imposed. The Red Cross has already mobilised HKD 2.6 million for its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund, and the Singapore Red Cross has received almost $80,000 in donations to support ongoing relief efforts. The European Union is providing EUR 80,000 in additional humanitarian funding to further assist the most vulnerable communities in Indonesia that have been affected by three major disasters in 2018: The Lombok earthquake, the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami, and the Sunda Strait earthquake and tsunami.