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With over 4,200 people dead or declared missing, 2018 was Indonesia’s deadliest year in a decade


Jakarta, Dec 29: With at least 4,231 people losing their lives or getting declared missing in natural disasters, Indonesia saw its deadliest year in little over a decade in 2018, the country's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said, according to Jakarta Post/Asia News Network.

The tsunami that hit the coasts of Indonesian islands along the Sunda Strait was not big but it was destructive. The waves smashed onto beaches in the darkness Saturday night without warning, ripping houses and hotels from their foundations in seconds and sweeping terrified concertgoers into the sea.

The world's largest archipelago was hit by a series of natural disasters during the year, starting from the earthquake that shook the capital Jakarta on January 23. The BNPB has recorded 2,426 natural disasters since that daytime quake, including the 7.4-magnitude quake that rattled Central Sulawesi in September and the 6.4-magnitude quake that hit Lambok and Bali islands in July.

Avoid coast near erupting volcano: Indonesian authorities ask people

Though the number of disasters in 2018 was lesser than that of 2017 when 2,862 instances were recorded; the toll of casualties were higher than the previous year (378) and the year before (578) when 2,306 disasters took place.

"This year is a disastrous year for Indonesia. At 4,231, it is the largest death toll that we've seen since 2007," BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho was quoted as saying in Jakarta recently.

Most of the casualties were caused by geological hazards like quakes, tsunami and soil liquefaction even though these hazards constituted just three per cent of the total of 2,426 disasters recorded till mid-December and they claimed almost 4,000 lives, the report added.

Christmas in tsunami-hit Indonesian region; prayers offered for victims

The casualties figure, however, do not include the death toll from the recent tsunami in the Sunda Strait which was caused by Anak Krakatua's volcanic eruption. In that tragedy of December 22, 430 were reported to be death with dozens still missing.

Chairman of Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Dwikorita Karnawati said the country lacked programmes to raise adequate disaster awareness despite it being located on the Pacific Ring of Fire which makes it highly prone to quakes and volcanic eruptions, the reports added.

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