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Anxious tsunami victims told to avoid coast near erupting volcano | News





Torrential rain and the possibility of more huge waves are making Indonesia’s tsunami victims even more anxious, as authorities urge residents near a rumbling island volcano to avoid the coastline amid warnings of “extreme weather and high waves”.

The powerful tsunami that followed an eruption of Anak Krakatoa hit settlements along the Sunda Strait almost without a warning on Saturday night, killing more than 420 people, displacing thousands and damaging infrastructure.

Rescuers on Wednesday continued evacuating stranded residents from remote islands and pushed into isolated communities still desperate for much-needed aid.

The disaster agency dispatched helicopters to drop supplies into a handful of hard-to-reach communities along the devastated coastlines of western Java and south Sumatra.

“We’re starting to access the most isolated places hit by the tsunami,” said Dody Ruswandi, senior disaster agency official.

“The devastation there is pretty massive, but we had not been able to get in there in the first couple of days.”

Some roads and bridges near isolated communities had been damaged, making road access more difficult, he added.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Sambolo village on the west coast of Java, said parts of the already-damaged main road that is running along the island’s shattered coastline and is being used by all the recovery and rescue vehicles were flooded.

“Torrential rain overnight in this part of Java has continued through into Wednesday, making the clean-up and the recovery efforts simply impossible,” McBride said, adding that many of the houses in the village were left without roofs in the aftermath of the volcano-triggered tsunami.

Debris on a tsunami-hit beach near Sumur, Banten province [Jorge Silva/Reuters]

Residents urged to keep away from coast

Anak Krakatoa is an island that emerged in the crater left by Krakatoa, whose massive eruption in 1883 was one of the most catastrophic in recorded history, killing at least 36,000 people.

Experts have warned that volcanic activity at the site remains high and more deadly waves could slam the stricken region now covered by mountains of overturned cars, boats, furniture and other debris.

“The concern for volcanologists is simply that they don’t have a good idea of what Anak Krakatoa is actually up to at the moment,” said McBride.

“Without a visual reference either from the shoreline of from the air, it’s difficult to know exactly what kind of danger it poses. But we know it’s erupting because between the claps of thunder you hear these sharper cracks of continued eruptions.”

A plume of ash rises as Anak Krakatoa erupts on December 23 [Susi Air viaReuters]

With Anak Krakatoa still rumbling and a high-tide warning  extended until Thursday, many evacuees seeking shelter in temporary camps are too afraid to return home. On Tuesday, villagers in Sumber Jaya raced for higher ground when word spread another tsunami was coming. It proved to be a false alarm.

Later in the day, Indonesia’s Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency asked people to stay at least 500 meters from the Sunda Strait coastline.

Dwikorita Karnawati, the agency’s head, said high waves and heavy rains are possible on Wednesday and the wall of the volcano’s crater is prone to collapse.

At a news conference, she said weather and continuing eruptions “could potentially cause landslides at the cliffs of the crater into the sea, and we fear that that could trigger a tsunami”.

Meanwhile, medical workers have warned that clean water and medicine supplies are running low, raising fears of a public health crisis as thousands of survivors cram shelters and hospitals.

The Indonesian Red Cross said more than 400 staff and volunteers are delivering clean water, blanket, tarpaulins and other supplies, while it dispatched mobile medical units.

“Our teams are seeing many broken bones and broken homes, and people who are very shaken,” said Arifin Hadi, head of disaster management at the Indonesian Red Cross.

“Indonesians have withstood a string of disasters this year and with them, so much loss and misery.”

Rescue workers carry a body bag containing the remains of a tsunami victim at Tanjung Lesung in Pandeglang [Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja/via Reuters]

2004 tsunami anniversary

The Indonesian government has so far rebuffed offers of international aid, saying the disaster-prone country could handle the crisis.

The country, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands with a population of some 260 million people, sits on the geologically active “Ring of Fire” and is frequently hit by earthquakes and tsunamis.

Saturday’s tsunami was Indonesia’s third major natural disaster in just a few months. In July and August, major earthquakes on Lombok island killed hundreds of people, while in September a devastating earthquake-tsunami claimed more than 2,000 lives in Palu on Sulawesi island.

It also came just a few days before the 14th anniversary of the December 26, 2004 tsunami, one of the deadliest disasters in history that claimed the lives of some 220,000 people in several countries around the Indian Ocean, more than half of whom were Indonesians, mostly people living in Aceh at the northern tip of Sumatra..

On Wednesday, thousands were expected to pray for loved ones at mass graves and mosques to mark the anniversary.


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Driver in satisfactory condition following head-on Gatineau collision





One person was in hospital in satisfactory condition following a head-on collision between two vehicles in Gatineau on Saturday.

According to Gatineau police, the crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Montée Paiement, between Saint-Thomas and Saint-Columban roads.

Each of the vehicles had only one occupant at the time of the incident.

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Ottawa military family alleges bad faith eviction by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada





An Ottawa military family alleges their former landlord — Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada — acted in bad faith when he gave them a notice of eviction, claiming he intended to move into their Vanier rental home with his own family.

The home is now listed for sale for $950,000, two months after Vivian and Tim Funk moved out with their two young children.

In documents filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board, the Funks detailed how their landlord, Sulaiman AlAqeel, acted to end their tenancy by allegedly pretending he was moving in himself. This was preceded by an attempt to market the house to new tenants for significantly more money when the Funks had not given notice indicating they would be leaving, the documents alleged. “The landlord’s representative,” according to the documents, allegedly told the Funks they needed to accept a $500 monthly rent increase and a new lease if they wanted to continue living in the rental property, which wouldn’t be legal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalization data showing half of cases coming from community, not just long-term care





With local data showing 50 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations coming from the community, long-term care residents aren’t the only one vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, Ottawa’s Board of Health reports.

Despite the majority of deaths having happened in older adult age groups in long-term care homes, residents shouldn’t think institutions are the only settings that are vulnerable to outbreaks that lead to serious illness from the virus.

“[Ottawa Public Health] continues to expand our understanding of the types of settings and situations that have the most impact on COVID-19 transmission in our community and is seeking academic partners to better explore exposure risks as well as a broader assessment of the harms from different public health measures,” OPH outlined in its document, to be present at the Board of Health on Monday.

At the same time, however, OPH says it is working closely with partners on “processes to strengthen and streamline responses.” This includes weekly meetings across agencies to address issues and concerns to ensure a strong collaboration, ongoing communications with facilities, preventative visits and phone calls to review infection prevention and control.

In situations where OPH identified failings at an LTCH or concerns of compliance have been raised, OPH has been quick to issue letters of expectation that outline the deficiencies and timelines fo compliance.

It is unclear how many letters have been issued through both waves of the virus.

And while outbreaks in LTCH during wave two have recorded a higher number of LTCH outbreaks than in wave one, the overall morbidity and mortality has been lower. This means fewer cases, fewer deaths and a lower average duration of outbreaks.

OPH contributed this to building on lessons learned from early COVID-19 outbreaks in LTCH in Ottawa.

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