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Indonesia tsunami: Are flights cancelled and is travel safe after 370 killed? | Travel News | Travel

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Indonesia has been hit by a terrible tsunami, killing hundreds of people, damaging electricity networks and destroying homes. This is the latest travel advice for holidaymakers. The devastating tidal wave was unleashed on the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. The disaster was triggered by the result of volcanic activity in the Anak Krakatoa (child of Mount Krakatoa) island located 34 miles off the Indonesian coast. Yesterday the Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued a red warning to airline pilots operating in the region about a spreading ash cloud from the eruption.

However, flights between Malaysia and Indonesia remain unaffected by the natural disaster today.

Malaysia Airlines has said no flights will be affected today and it is monitoring the situation, reported local site The Star.

Garuda Indonesia – Indonesia’s national airline – cancelled 29 flights yesterday while 17 were delayed.

Half of these were linked to the Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.

Indonesia’s low-cost airline Lion Air had four cancellations and 35 delays.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated their travel advice to the region.

“On Saturday 22 December volcanic activity caused a tsunami that affected the coastline around the Sunda Strait which lies between Western Java and the South of Sumatra causing significant damage, loss of life and casualties,” the FCO posted on its website.

“The Mount Anak Krakatau volcano, located off the coast close to the affected areas, remains active.

“Before travelling to these coastal areas of Western Java and the South of Sumatra you should check with your travel operator, monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.”

Authorities in the country have told tourists and residents to stay away from beaches until Christmas Day.

Rahmat Triyono, head of the meteorological agency said: “Please do not be around the beaches around the Sunda Strait. Those who have evacuated, please do not return yet.”

The popular area of the Banten province in Java, in the Pandeglang region, is the worst affected.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of public relations at the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management, revealed 430 homes had been damaged, nine hotels were “severely damaged” and 10 ships were “severely damaged.”

The deaths from the tsunami were reported in the Pandeglang, South Lampung and Serang regions.

Indonesia sits on the dangerous Ring of Fire, a girdle of volcanos that circle the Pacific Ocean. The Ring of Fire formed when ocean plates crashed and slid under lighter continental plates, in a process known as subduction.

There are 452 volcanoes based in the 25,000-mile ring. Around 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire since records began, which increases the risk for tidal waves such as the one which Indonesia.

Krakatau erupted in 1883 killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunami. Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area in 1927 and has been growing ever since.

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Travel & Escape

American woman faces $2,800 parking bill after leaving car in Toronto during pandemic

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Parking in the city can be costly, but one American woman is learning just how bad it can be after being unable to retrieve her car for nearly a year.

Detroit resident Kim Richardson left her 2004 Honda Element at the Park2Sky lot by Pearson airport in March 2020 before flying out to Europe for a medical procedure. She originally planned to retrieve it within two weeks but partway through her trip, the Canada-US border got closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Richardson’s return flight was rerouted to Detroit and she’s been unable to return to Toronto since.

What was originally a $100 bill has now inflated to $2,800 as the lot’s owner says he has a business to operate and is owed payment for 11 months of storage. However, Richardson believes she’s being extorted for an issue beyond her control.

Park2Sky personnel claim that several Americans who found themselves in similar predicaments have had their cars shipped home.

“I don’t understand, I don’t know what’s going on here. Business is down, I’m not making any money at all. People who leave their car are paid. She’s the only one that hasn’t paid,” said the owner to CBC News this week.

The stalemate is expected to last a while longer as travel restrictions remain in place and Ontario Provincial Police have said they won’t get involved in a civil matter.

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All systems are go for St. Lawrence Cruise Lines in 2021

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KINGSTON — Despite Canada’s newly extended cruise ship ban, Canadians still have a small-ship cruising alternative in 2021 with St. Lawrence Cruise Lines.

The small-ship operator, which sails on the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, has confirmed operations for 2021, with overnight cruises on both rivers from May 20 to Oct. 24. A variety of cruises ranging from four to seven nights will depart from Kingston, Ottawa and Quebec City, sailing exclusively in domestic waters with stops at select ports in Ontario and Quebec.

On Feb. 4, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra announced that Canada’s cruise ship ban will be extended until Feb. 28, 2022. This measure, which effectively prohibits cruise vessels carrying more than 100 passengers from operating in Canadian waters, does not impact the small-ship operations of St. Lawrence Cruise Lines and its 32-stateroom CANADIAN EMPRESS.

“We are excited to offer travellers a small ship option for the 2021 season,” said President Jason Clark. “Our overnight cruises stay close to shore in Canadian waters and our COVID-19 Health and Safety program has been recognized for its high standards.”

This past December, the cruise line was awarded the Safe Travels Stamp by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) for adherence to global standards of health and hygiene. The program includes a wide range of safety measures, including reduced passenger loads, masking, physical distancing and hospital-grade electrostatic disinfecting for both private staterooms and shared spaces. Plus, all staterooms have access to fresh air, climate controls and views of the river.

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Here’s How Canada’s ‘Screening Officers’ Will Check On Travellers During Quarantine

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The federal government is reminding all travellers in Canada that “Screening Officers” may pay them a visit post-arrival.

In a statement about the country’s latest travel restrictions, Transport Canada confirmed that newly-trained officials would be tasked with checking up on travellers during their two-week quarantine period.

The role of the Screening Officers will be to visit travellers’ quarantine locations to “establish contact, confirm identify and confirm that travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified upon entry into Canada.”

This is to make sure individuals are complying with Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement.

The checks will be conducted across 35 Canadian cities, having already started in Montreal and Toronto back in January.

The officials will provide “compliance education” and will be able to issue verbal warnings, but stronger enforcement action will be referred to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and then law enforcement for follow-up checks. 

Failing to comply with the Quarantine Act or with Screening Officers’ instructions could result in fines of up to $750,000 or even jail time.

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