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Heavy rain hampers tsunami rescue efforts
INDONESIAN rescue teams on Wednesday struggled to reach remote areas on the western coast of Java amid an "extreme weather" rain warning after a tsunami killed more than 400 people last week.
Heavy rain lashed fishing villages along the coast, muddying roads and holding up convoys delivering heavy machinery and aid to isolated areas while authorities urged residents to stay away from the shore in case of further waves.
Clouds of ash spewed from the nearby Anak Krakatau, almost obscuring the volcanic island where a crater collapse at high tide on Saturday sent waves up to five metres high smashing into the coast on the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra islands.
Indonesia's meteorology agency (BMKG) said that the rough weather could make the volcano's crater more fragile. "We have developed a monitoring system focused specifically on the volcanic tremors at Anak Krakatau so that we can issue early warnings," said BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati, adding that a two-kilometre exclusion zone had been imposed.
The confirmed death toll is 430, with at least 159 people missing. Nearly 1,500 people were injured and over 21,000 people have evacuated to higher ground. REUTERS