The tsunami wave destroyed hundreds of buildings and homes without any warning overnight. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman at Indonesia’s disaster agency, initially said the wave was not a tsunami, but a tidal surge. He has since apologised for his mistake, especially as he told the public not to panic. He admitted there was confusion because there was no earthquake.
Where did the tsunami hit?
The wave hit coastal towns in Sunda Strait at about 9.30pm local time (2.30pm GMT) on Saturday, December 22, according to government officials.
The Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Sumatra, connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean.
Several tourist destinations, including the Tanjung Lesung beach resort in the west of Java island, were affected.
The disaster management agency also warned people to stay away from the coastline in case there is another tsunami.
What caused the tsunami?
Officials are investigating whether the tsunami was caused by an eruption from Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island in the Sunda Strait.
Indonesia’s geologic agency said that the volcano erupted for two minutes and 12 seconds on Friday, which shot an ash cloud 1,300ft (400m) above the mountain.
The agency also advised people not to go within more than a mile (two km) of the crater.
The disaster management agency added the tsunami may have been amplified due to the full moon creating high seas and strong waves.
Where is the Ring of Fire?
Indonesia is often stuck by tsunamis because it lies on the Ring of Fire.
The horseshoe-shaped Ring of Fire, which is 25,000 miles-long (40,233km), is known for its chain of volcanoes.
The Ring is located in the basin of the Pacific Ocean and is said to be the location for 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Indonesia was devastated by anther tsunami in September this year.
More than 2,000 people died when a powerful earthquake struck near the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, which then triggered a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu.
On 26 December 2004, a series of huge waves caused by a huge earthquake in the Indian Ocean killed about 228,000 people in 14 countries – mostly in Indonesia.
However, tsunamis caused by volcanic activity do not happen as frequently.