Timeline: Indonesia battered by devastating quakes and tsunamis

Sitting on the geologically active Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, the vast archipelago is frequently hit by natural disasters.

Debris is seen after a tsunami hit at Sumur district in Pandeglang
Debris seen a day after a tsunami hit Sumur district in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 23, 2018 [Aurora Rinjani/Antara Foto via Reuters]

A tsunami has killed more than 400 people and injured hundreds on the shorelines of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia, the latest disaster to hit the vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and home to 260 million people.

Saturday’s tsunami followed an underwater landslide believed to have been caused by the erupting Anak Krakatoa volcano nearby. The periodically active volcano has been spewing ash and lava since June.

Indonesia sits on the geologically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” and is frequently hit by earthquakes and tsunamis.

Here are some of the major disasters in recent years:

September 2018: More than 2,000 people killed by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devastated the city of Palu, on the west coast of Sulawesi island, and the areas around it. Tens of thousands were left homeless. 

August 2018: Major earthquakes hit Indonesia’s tourist island of Lombok, killing more than 500 people, mostly on the northern side of the island.

December 2016: A powerful and shallow quake struck the Pidie Jaya regency in Aceh, northern Sumatra, causing destruction and panic as people were reminded by the devastation of a deadly 2004 quake and tsunami. No tsunami was triggered, but more than 100 were killed by fallen buildings.

October 2010: A 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit one of the Mentawai Islands, off Sumatra, triggering a tsunami of up to 10 metres. Around 300 people were killed and dozens of villages destroyed.  

September 2009: A 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the city of Padang, capital of West Sumatra province. More than 1,100 people were killed.

July 2006: A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit south of Java, Indonesia’s most populated island, triggering a tsunami that smashed into the southern coast, killing nearly 700 people. Tens of thousands were displaced.

May 2006: A shallow earthquake rocked the area around the ancient royal city of Yogyakarta in Java killing at least 5,500 and destroying or damaging 150,000 homes.

March/April 2005: A series of strong earthquakes hit the western coast of Sumatra. Hundreds died in Nias Island, off the coast of Sumatra.

December 2004: A massive 9.1 magnitude earthquake on the western coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province triggered a tsunami that hit 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coastlines. Indonesia was the hardest hit, with more than 120,000 people killed in Aceh, where entire communities were wiped out.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies