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Caught in Indonesia’s tsunami – stories of survival and death | Indonesia News

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South Lampung, Indonesia – The wedding party was in full swing when Andi Karim heard the sounds of fierce waves slamming the shore of his village in western Indonesia.
 
The 32-year-old’s instinct kicked in immediately, prompting him to spring towards his home on the waterfront where his 33-year-old wife Putri Anita and his five-year-old son and three-month-old daughter were sleeping.
 
“When I got inside the house, I saw that the waves had knocked a cupboard on top of my family. My wife was holding it up so they didn’t get crushed,” Karim told Al Jazeera.
 
His family was alive – but trapped. The small plywood cupboard had fallen on their mosquito net, pinning them to the bed.
 
“My wife was holding the cupboard so it didn’t fall on the baby, but she couldn’t get them out from under the net,” Karim said.
 
“I saw in her eyes that she was just waiting to die.”





Karim managed to rescue his family from their house before another violent wave bore down on the village in South Lampung [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

 
Rajabasa village had just been hit by a powerful tsunami that on Saturday night battered the Lampung and Banten provinces on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java, respectively.






Indonesia raises alert, reroutes flights around erupting volcano

The huge waves are widely believed to have been triggered by an underwater landslide caused by an eruption from the neighbouring Anak Krakatoa volcano which sits in the Sunda Strait.

At least 430 people have been killed, more than 150 are still missing, and thousands have been displaced.
 
Karim managed to lift the cupboard off his family and get them out of the house as another violent wave bore down on the village in South Lampung.

“By the time we went outside, the water was waist deep,” he said. “If I hadn’t got there in time and been so close, my wife and children would be dead now.”





Coastal areas of Lampung in Sumatra were badly hit by the tsunami and 108 people have died in the province [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

Surging wall of water

On the same night, some two kilometres away in the coastal village of Way Muli, Sabandin Bin Hasimun was at his neighbour’s house.
 
“I heard water rushing up the beach, which was unusual, so I went outside to see what was happening. A second wave came on the horizon and it was so big,” the 38-year-old told Al Jazeera.
 
“My neighbour immediately shouted, ‘It’s a tsunami’.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/afraid-sea-indonesians-seek-shelter-mountains-181226141337627.html

Bin Hasimun immediately started running down the waterfront in the direction of his family home, where his wife, Munajah Binti Nurdin, 31, and their two youngest sons – Muhammad Rifki Al Lapis, two, and Ahmad Dinata Adi Saputra, eight – were all asleep.
 
But he couldn’t make it.
 
“The wave hit me and I went under,” he recalled. “I just curled up in a ball and put my hands over my head.”
 
Bin Hasimun was washed against a low wall next to the main road. He managed to grab hold of it. “That’s what saved me being swept out to sea,” he said.
 
When the water subsided and his gaze turned towards his house, he saw that it had completely disappeared – gone by the surging wall of water.
 
“I thought another wave would come so I ran away,” said Bin Hasimun, who eventually managed to scramble to higher ground.





Sabandin Bin Hasimun lost his wife and two-year-old son when the tsunami destroyed their home [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

 
The next morning, the body of his two-year-old son was found on the beach. It took until Tuesday for his wife’s remains to be recovered at Kunjir village, around a kilometre away.
 
Remarkably, his eight-year-old son had woken up by the sound of the sea and fled the home before the waves came. “He took the initiative to save his own life,” said Bin Hasimun.
 
His eldest son, 11-year-old Ahmad Dwi Hadi Saputra, was at a football camp in the provincial capital of Bandar Lampung when the tsunami hit and is now being looked after by his football coach. He has yet to be told that his mother and youngest brother perished in the deadly waves.

Infrastructure risks

Out of the 108 tsunami victims in South Lampung, 22 lived in Way Muli.

Dr. Eddie Dempsey, a lecturer in structural geology at the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Hull told Al Jazeera that the waves and the water are in fact the least hazardous part of tsunamis.

“Tsunamis really are terrible events… The most dangerous part is the debris and sediment picked up by the wave which is churned around like in a cement mixer,” Dempsey said.






Indonesia raises alert, reroutes flights around erupting volcano

“In addition to that, fallen electricity cables and burning fuel add to the hazards. As with most geohazards, most of the risks actually come from the infrastructure we have built around ourselves.”
 
Rescuers are continuing to find bodies along the coastlines of Lampung and Banten and the burial process is ongoing.

Helicopters, drones and sniffer dogs have also been deployed to find survivors and victims in remote areas, as recovery teams scramble to distribute much-needed aid to those sheltering in mountainous makeshift camps amid official warnings to stay away from the coast due to the prospect of the rumbling Anak Krakatoa causing another tsunami.

On Wednesday, Bin Hasimun attended his local mosque where he was comforted by friends as paramedics unloaded the body of his wife on a stretcher so that local residents could say prayers ahead of her burial.





Sabandin Bin Hasimun’s wife Munajah was brought to the local mosque for a burial on Wednesday [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

 
Her body, almost unrecognisable due to decomposition caused by the water, had to be wrapped first in a traditional white Muslim funeral shroud and then in a plastic body bag to avoid it leaking. The prayers had to be cut short as the smell of death in the mosque was overwhelming and caused members of the crowd to cough.

Bin Hasimun was urged by concerned friends not to attend the burial for fear that it would be too upsetting.
 
Having lost his wife of 13 years, he says he’s feeling “lost”. For the moment, he is staying with family friends on higher ground in Way Muli, but is too shocked to know what to do next.
 
“I’ve no idea where we’re going to live,” he said. “I just can’t picture the future.” 

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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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