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Java hit by tsunami -

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Java hit by tsunami

AM - Tuesday, 18 July , 2006 08:18:00

Reporter: Geoff Thompson

TONY EASTLEY: Red Cross officials say the death toll from the tsunami on the Indonesian Island of
Java is now 105.

The strong undersea earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale triggered a regional tsunami
alert.

Waves up to one-and-a-half metres high, according to officials, crashed into a beach near the town
of Ciamis, south-east of Jakarta.

News of the disaster spread panic across a region still recovering from a tsunami less than two
years ago.

Local leaders on Christmas Island say hundreds of residents there had about 20 minutes warning to
go to higher ground.

We'll hear about Australia's early warning system in a moment, but first to our Correspondent Geoff
Thompson who's in south Java on his way to the affected area.

Geoff Thompson, what's the local media saying about this tsunami?

GEOFF THOMPSON: Well, Tony, they're saying that somewhere around 100 people are now feared to be
dead and scores more are injured and missing.

The brunt of this tsunami struck a town, a fishing and tourism town called Pangandaran, which is
about 500 kilometres south-east of Jakarta.

Now, it hit yesterday afternoon. The size of the wave has been reported from being from a metre...
some reports today suggesting up to 5 metres, but certainly enough to sweep away all the sort of
shoddy structures down on the beach, the small little restaurant shacks, that sort of thing and to
dump fishing boats through the fronts of hotels.

So, it's still far from clear the true extent of this damage. Doesn't seem to be at the level of
the 2004 tsunami, but certainly... it certainly had an impact.

TONY EASTLEY: Was this area of west Java, was this an area affected by the last tsunami, the big
one?

GEOFF THOMPSON: No, it's not. The big tsunami, as you say, basically struck the island of Sumatra.
And this is on the other side of... and it's on the southern coast of Java, which has also affected
Christmas Island, Australia's Christmas Island and also, it's also affected the prison island of
Nusa Kambangan, where of course some of the Bali bombers on death row are being held. And there are
some reports that some prisoners there may have been swept away.

TONY EASTLEY: Are any Australians known to be affected by this tsunami, Geoff?

GEOFF THOMPSON: Well, we do know that there was at least one group of Australians in the area, and
they have made contact with the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and reported that they are safe, that
they managed to run to the hills behind Pangandaran and escaped.

TONY EASTLEY: Geoff Thompson in South Java.