Photos: Over 222 killed by deadly tsunami; Pope asks for solidarity

Pope Francis has asked for everyone to join him in prayer for the suffering victims this Christmas with particular reference to the over 222 killed by a deadly tsunami in Indonesia. He appealed to the international community to show solidarity with the people of Indonesia.

Pope Francis after the Angelus prayer at noon this Sunday said that “My thoughts go out right now to the populations of Indonesia, affected by violent natural disasters, which have caused serious losses in human lives, numerous people missing and homeless, and extensive material damage.”

“I invite everyone to join me in prayer for the victims and their loved ones,” he said. The Pope also appealed to other countries to show solidarity with the people of Indonesia.

Francis stated his desire to be “spiritually close” to the people for one reason or another displaced in different parts of the world and “to all the people who are imploring God for relief in their suffering.”

Deadly tsunami

The tsunami on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra killed at least 222 people with 843 injured and 28 missing and injured hundreds. Experts believed that the tsunami followed an underwater landslide believed to have been caused by the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano, officials said on Sunday.

Hundreds of homes and other buildings were “heavily damaged” when the tsunami struck, almost without warning, along the rim of the Sunda Strait late on Saturday, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said.

TV images showed the seconds when the tsunami hit the beach and residential areas in Pandeglang on Java island, dragging with it victims, debris, and large chunks of wood and metal.

Coastal residents reported not seeing or feeling any warning signs on Saturday night, such as receding water or an earthquake, before waves of 2-3 metres (6-10 feet) washed ashore, according to media.

Authorities said a warning siren went off in some areas.

The timing of the tsunami, over the Christmas holiday season, evoked memories of the Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake on Dec. 26 in 2004, which killed 226,000 people in 14 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Photos: REUTERS