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





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’.”

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 transit commission hopes to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines for OC Transpo workers





Ottawa’s transit commission is pushing local and provincial health officials to recognize the role OC Transpo operators have played in keeping the city running during the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to bump train and bus drivers in the vaccination queue amid a recent surge in coronavirus infections affecting transit workers.

More than 100 OC Transpo staff across the entire organization have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to an update at Wednesday morning’s transit commission meeting.

Of those cases, 26 employees are currently recovering from the disease in self-isolation.

OC Transpo has seen a recent jump in COVID-19 cases, with Ottawa city council receiving reports of eight operators testing positive for the virus over a recent eight-day period.

Transit commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert attempted to find out how many of the total cases are traced to workplace transmission, but OC Transpo boss John Manconi said he’s been advised by medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches that he can’t share that information for privacy reasons.

Transit operators are listed in the second priority group of essential workers as part of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine sequencing plans, but several commissioners speaking Wednesday wanted to get the city’s bus and train drivers bumped higher in the order.

Councillors Riley Brockington and Glen Gower both put forward motions looking to get front-line OC Transpo employees prioritization in vaccine sequencing, but others pointed out that the much-debated public health topic of who gets the vaccine and when is well beyond the scope of the transit commission.

“We are not in a position in transit commission to be decreeing, or making an edict, about what group of essential workers is more at risk than others and should be prioritized. That should be left up to public health experts,” Wright-Gilbert said.

Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli, who also chairs the Ottawa Board of Health, reflected on the board’s four-plus-hour meeting on Monday evening, during which vaccine sequencing and prioritizing essential workers dominated the conversation.

“Vaccine sequencing is obviously a very difficult maze to get through,” he said.

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COVID-19: Ottawa police announce end of 24-7 presence at Ontario-Quebec border





Less than two days after the Ontario government’s latest COVID-19 restrictions came into effect, calling for non-essential traffic to be stopped at the province’s borders with Quebec and Manitoba, the Ottawa Police Service has announced it is stopping its 24-hour checkpoints.

According to a statement issued by the service Tuesday evening, the around-the-clock border checkpoints were set to end as of 8 p.m. on Tuesday in favour of rotating checkpoints across the city throughout the day until Ontario’s temporary regulations end.

“Since the onset of the border operations, the OPS has been working closely with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) along with local stakeholders and interprovincial stakeholders (the City of Ottawa, the City of Gatineau, the Ontario Provincial Police etc.) to assess any local public health, traffic and safety impacts. The assessment resulted in today’s operational changes,” the statement said.

“The operational changes announced today are designed to better ensure the health and safety of all, to minimize delays and/or hazards for travellers and to ensure essential workers can get to their places of employment on time.”

The statement also said the police service, while working to comply with the provincial order, was focused on education and enforcement actions that “support improved public health outcomes and respect the concerns of our most marginalized and racialized communities”

Officers said they will be conducting daily assessments on border crossings and that there could be further changes.

In a statement to Global News, a spokesperson for Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said that the border closures are ultimately subject to the discretion of local police enforcing the regulations.

“Local police services are best positioned to determine the operational deployments necessary to ensure the continued safety of their communities,” the spokesperson said, noting that the order’s regulations still apply to individuals entering the province.

The temporary order restricts Quebec residents from entering Ontario. If prompted, individuals must stop when directed by an enforcement officials and provide their reason for entering the province.

The main exemptions to the restrictions include if the person’s main home is in the province, if they work in Ontario, if they’re transporting goods, if they’re exercising Indigenous or treaty rights, if they need health care or if there’s a basis on compassionate grounds.

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COVID-19 vaccines in Ottawa: Nearly half of all residents in their 60s have at least one dose





OTTAWA — Ottawa Public Health’s latest COVID-19 vaccination update shows that nearly half of all residents 60 to 69 years old have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a figure that has all but doubled in the past week.

OPH’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard shows 58,000 residents 60 to 69 have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for 49.3 per cent of that age group’s population in Ottawa. Last Wednesday, OPH reported 30,000 residents 60 to 69 had had at least one dose, which was 25.4 per cent.

As age demographics get younger, the population grows larger and the coverage by percentage may appear to grow more slowly, even if clinics are vaccinating greater numbers of people. For example, the latest figures show that 83 per cent of people aged 70 to 79 have had at least one dose. By raw population that’s 60,000 people, only slightly higher than half of all people in their 60s.

Vaccinations are open through the Ontario portal to anyone 60 and older and, this week, the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for administration at pharmacies and primary care clinics to anyone in Ontario 40 and older.

OPH reported a new shipment this week of 25,740 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. To date, Ottawa has received 305,130 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the provincial government.

The number of eligible residents (i.e. 16 and older) with at least one dose of a vaccine is now up to 28 per cent.

Tuesday was Ottawa’s second-busiest day for vaccinations overall, with the OPH reporting 9,729 shots administered. Last Friday saw 9,887 shots administered in a single day.


  • Ottawa residents with at least one dose: 248,668
  • Ottawa residents with two doses: 26,722
  • Percent of eligible population (residents 16 and older) with at least one dose: 28 per cent
  • Percent of eligible population (residents 16 and older) with two doses: 3 per cent
  • Percent of total population with at least one dose: 24 per cent
  • Percent of total population with two doses: 3 per cent


  • 10-19: 1.6 per cent (1,804 people)
  • 20-29: 8.3 per cent (13,452 people)
  • 30-39: 9.5 per cent (14,999 people)
  • 40-49: 12.9 per cent (17,350 people)
  • 50-59: 28.8 per cent (40,320 people)
  • 60-69: 49.3 per cent (58,627 people)
  • 70-79: 82.9 per cent (62,808 people)
  • 80-89: 87.5 per cent (29,358 people)
  • 90+: 89.2 per cent (7,893 people)
  • Unknown age: 2,057 people 

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