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Indonesia’s Sunda Strait tsunami: What we know | News

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Both sides of Indonesia’s Sunda Strait – Java on the east and Sumatra on the west – were hit by a tsunami late on Saturday, causing hundreds of deaths and widespread devastation. 

The tsunami, which is believed to have been caused by undersea landslides from volcanic activity, caught the region by surprise. 

Here’s what we know so far: 

How many were killed or injured? What is the scale of the devastation?

  • More than 280 people have been killed, over 1,000 injured and dozens are still missing, officials said on Monday morning. 

  • The death toll is expected to rise.

  • The tsunami also damaged about 350 boats and vessels, 556 houses, 73 vehicles and nine hotels, according to Indonesia’s disaster agency (BNPB).

  • The majority of the deaths happened in worst-affected Pandeglang district on Java’s western tip. Serang, further north, and South Lampung, on Sumatra island, were also hit hard.

  • The seaside areas were packed with domestic tourists during the long holiday weekend, but foreigners were also visiting ahead of Christmas as well.





More than 220 people were killed in the tsunami [Fauzy Chaniago/AP]

What might have triggered the tsunami?

  • Indonesia’s climatology agency (BMKG) said undersea landslides triggered by an eruption of the Mount Anak Krakatau volcano, located about 50km offshore in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra, may have triggered the tsunami.

  • The agency said the eruption took place at 9:03pm (14:03 GMT), and the tsunami hit 24 minutes later.

  • “At the same time, the tide was high due to the full moon, so it was a combination of two natural phenomenons, the tsunami and the high tide,” a spokesman for BNPB, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said in a statement.





 

  • Simon Boxall, oceanographer, told the Associated Press, “We know that there was a major eruption of the volcano on Friday but the tsunami that occurred was a day later.

    “So it was likely to be as a result of either a pyroclastic flow – these are these sort of lava flows that come off the volcano after an eruption – or more likely it was a submarine landslide, which was sort of triggered by the eruption itself.

    “Now, the tsunami that was created was, I say, only three metres. The problem is it occurred during a high tide, a high spring tide, which means that the water levels were already very, very high.

    “There was very little warning. It would have only taken about 10 minutes for the tsunami to hit the coast to the west, took about an hour to hit the east. But even so, there’s still very little time to get a warning out and there are no buoys in this particular area for early warnings.”

Is this the first tragedy of its kind in the area?

  • An estimated 230,000 people were killed on December 26, 2004, when an earthquake-triggered tsunami struck 13 countries on the Indian Ocean including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

  • Mount Anak Krakatau has erupted at least twice in the past few years and has shown increased volcanic activity since June.

  • In 1883, a massive eruption from the main Krakatau volcano triggered a giant tsunami that killed more than 30,000 people.

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Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

For Masuma, the decision to keep her daughter home was complex: extended family members are immunocompromised and she worried the in-person learning environment would be unpleasant because of precautions. She also felt her daughter might benefit from being supported at home.

“She doesn’t necessarily enjoy school. I also found out during the pandemic that she was being bullied [last year],” said Masuma. “So I thought, why not try from home?”

To help her daughter socialize face-to-face with other kids, Masuma enrolled Hana in Baxter Forest School, an alternative education program where kids spend most of their time outside, one day a week. Hana also attends virtual Arabic classes two days a week after school. 

Masuma’s husband and Hana share the living room work space, and Masuma admits he does the lion’s share of helping their daughter stay on task. There is a possibility that he’ll be required to return to his office in the new year.

“When he goes back to work … it’s probably going to be a little bit more difficult.”

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No school closures after Christmas holiday break, says Ontario education minister

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Ontario elementary and secondary schools will not close for an extended winter break, says Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Closures aren’t needed given Ontario’s “strong safety protocols, low levels of (COVID-19) transmission and safety within our schools,” Lecce announced Wednesday afternoon. He said he had consulted with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and the province’s public health measures advisory table.

That ended speculation about school buildings remaining closed in January for a period of time after the Christmas break.

Earlier in the week, Lecce told reporters the government was considering having students spend “some period out of class” in January, perhaps switching to online learning.

In a statement, Lecce said that even though rates of community transmission of COVID-19 are increasing, “schools have been remarkably successful at minimizing outbreaks to ensure that our kids stay safe and learning in their classrooms.”

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Windy start to the week in Ottawa

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OTTAWA — It’s a blustery Monday in the capital with wind gusts of up to 50 km/hour expected throughout the day.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 4 C with a 60 per cent chance of showers or flurries before the wind dies down later this evening.

There’s a chance of flurries on Tuesday as well with a high of -1 C. The overnight low will dip to an unseasonal -9 C.  

Wednesday’s high will be just -5 C with lots of sunshine.

Seasonal temperatures return for the rest of the week..

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