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After deadly surprise tsunami, Indonesia is in mourning and on edge

A tsunami that struck Indonesia with no warning has resulted in tragedy. Nearly 400 people are confirmed dead, with hundreds more still missing. As rescue crews collect the bodies and recovery efforts mobilize, scientists hypothesize that a volcanic eruption caused the wave. Nick Schifrin reports on the extent of the damage and why some victims are criticizing the government response.

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  • Nick Schifrin:

    The official casualty count in this weekend's Indonesian tsunami keeps rising. Today, officials confirmed at least 373 dead, and they said the number will likely increase.

    In Serang, Indonesia tonight, the Christmas Eve mass was heavy with tragedy. They prayed for fellow parishioners swept away by the weekend, tsunami.

  • Roberetus Bowo Santoso:

    Some of our church members are also victims of this tragedy. Even now, some of them are in the process of burials outside the town.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    It was Saturday night when the tsunami hit Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Sumatra, with no warning. A local pop band was performing at the moment the waves arrived. Multiple band members died, and members of the crowd were swept away.

  • Destiawan:

    When I saw water come in, about knee-high, I tried to run, but suddenly the current dragged me, and I was drifting away.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    Today, that beach resort is destroyed, as are local villages. And search teams fanned out looking for signs of life. They are getting better organized, says the International Red Cross' Steve McAndrew.

  • Steve McAndrew:

    It's getting better every minute, as debris is being cleared. The government and the Indonesian armed forces are responding. They're in the area sort of making access better every minute, every hour.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    And that's allowed those who fled the tsunami to return today. But they say they have had to clean up themselves.

  • Jajam:

    We're grateful that we're safe now, and aid is coming in from communities and the city central, but we haven't received any from the government yet.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    In all, some 1,500 were injured. And health clinics are overwhelmed. Family members line up outside, anxiously checking patient lists. It's been just three months since another tsunami caused by an earthquake killed more than 2,000 people.

    Saturday's tsunami is thought to have been triggered by underwater landslides caused by the eruption of the Anak Krakatoa Volcano. That means Child of Krakatoa Volcano, which erupted in the 1880s and killed 36,000 people.

    Today, President Joko Widodo visited the tsunami zone, and acknowledged there is no system to detect a tsunami triggered by a volcano.

  • Joko Widodo:

    In the future, the government will provide detection equipment, warning systems that can give warning to everyone.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    But, for now, people on these islands, are living in fear of another tsunami, especially after the volcano erupted again yesterday.

  • Steve McAndrew:

    Just have to be alert. The government has recommended people to stay away from the coast at least until 8:00 a.m. on the morning of the 26th, so another two days.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    Many will spend that time grieving. The lead singer of the band that was hit is apparently its only surviving member. On Instagram, he asked people to pray for his band mates and his wife, all washed away by the tsunami.

    A government spokesman today admitted the country's network of buoys, designed to detect tsunamis, haven't worked since 2012 because of vandalism and budget shortfalls.

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