The death toll from Indonesia’s Christmas-time tsunami continues to rise, as officials warn that additional volcanic landslides could trigger more deadly waves.

At least 429 people died, more than 1,400 were injured and another 158 are missing as of Tuesday morning, more than two days after the wave came crashing ashore on the northwest coast of Java, one of the large islands comprising the country, officials said.

The threat did not disappear with the waves themselves, as officials were warning residents and tourists to stay as far away from coastal areas as possible on Monday because continued volcanic eruptions from Mount Anak Krakatau could potentially trigger a second devastating tsunami.

More than 600 housing units and at least nine hotels were destroyed or badly damaged in the tsunami, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of public relations for the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency. He said more than 16,000 people have been displaced.

In our initial report on the disaster, I noted that members of a popular “boy band” were filmed being hit by the wave. Only the lead singer appears to have survived, and the wave claimed his 26-year old wife’s life as well.

The lead singer of the local group “Seventeen,” Riefian Fajarsyah, included a video of himself stroking his bride’s white coffin in a heartbreaking Instagram post from the back of a hearse.

“How can I live without you, Dylan Sahara?” Fajarsyah, 35, wrote of his wife, to his 1.9 million followers.

Eerie video footage had shown fans clapping and cheering at the band’s beachside performance in Java on Saturday night — seconds before a huge wave smashed onto the stage.

The frontman’s wife, an Indonesian actress and TV-personality, was one of the dozens of people swept away by the wave.

Her body was identified at a hospital late Monday, according to local reports.

The group’s drummer, Wisnu Andi Darmawan was also found dead Monday — as the group’s bassist Muhammad Awal Purbani, guitarist Herman Sikumbang, manager Oki Wijaya and crew member Rukmana Rustam were laid to rest.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Sicily’s Mt. Etna put on a Christmas display.

The Mount Etna volcano erupted on Monday, spewing ash as several minor earthquakes hit the region, and prompting a partial closure of the Sicilian airspace around the mountain.

Italy’s national institute for geophysics and vulcanology (INGV) counted more than 130 seismic shocks in the zone, with the strongest reaching a magnitude of 4.0.

“The eruption occurred on the side of Etna,” Boris Behncke, a vulcanologist at INGV, told AFP. “It’s the first lateral eruption in more than 10 years, but it doesn’t seem to be dangerous.”

Due to bad visibility because of the ash authorities restricted local airspace, allowing only four landings per hour Monday afternoon at the eastern Sicilian airport of Catania.

Let’s hope airport closures will be the limit to what Mt. Etna does this cycle.

 

 
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