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Indonesia mourns as death toll from devastating tsunami rises

Residents trying to salvage whats left of their property after their village was struck by tsunami, in Indonesia.photo/ courtesy The Associated Press]

The death toll from a tsunami that struck beaches around the Sunda Strait in Indonesia on Saturday night has risen to 281, with more than 1,000 other people injured.

According to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Indonesia’s National disaster agency spokesperson, the numbers are expected to rise even as rescue workers struggle to reach many devastated areas.

The tsunami hit  without a warning both sides of Indonesia‘s Sunda Strait on Saturday, sending a wall of water crashing about 20 metres inland that swept away hundreds of homes and hotels on the shores of Java and Sumatra.

Authorities said the tsunami may have been triggered by an undersea landslide resulting from volcanic activity on Anak Krakatau and was exacerbated by an abnormally high tide because of the current full moon.

Hundreds of buildings were also destroyed by the fierce wave.

Physical losses included 430 heavily damaged homes, nine hotels and 10 heavily damaged vessels.

Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate to higher ground.