The death toll from the Indonesian tsunami rose to 429 overnight on Monday as 128 people remained missing following the disaster.
Search and rescue efforts will continue until Sunday, police said, but officials admitted there was little chance of finding anyone else alive.
Efforts will now turn to providing medical aid for the 1,400 injured by the tidal wave triggered by an eruption at the ‘Child of Krakatoa’ volcano on Saturday, and finding shelter for the 16,000 whose homes were destroyed.
But torrential rain was hampering those efforts on Christmas Day, making searches difficult and hindering ambulances brought in to take dead bodies out of the disaster zone.
Pastor Markus Taekz said Tuesday his Rahmat Pentecostal Church in the hard-hit area of Carita did not celebrate with joyous songs this year.
The death toll from the Indonesia tsunami rose to 429 overnight on Monday as search efforts continued, but officials privately admitted that there was little chance of finding anyone else alive
Aid is now desperately needed to help the 1,400 people injured in the disaster along with shelter for 16,000 who fled their homes after the tsunami struck on Saturday
Parts of a damaged ride are seen at a amusement park after it was hit by a tsunami at the Sumber Jaya village in Sumur
People inspect the damage at a tsunami-ravaged village in Sumur, Indonesia, on Christmas Day
A man holds his son amid the devastation caused by the Indonesia tsunami, which was triggered by an eruption at the ‘Child of Krakatoa’ volcano on Saturday
Attempts to reach victims of the disaster were hampered on Tuesday by torrential rains which stopped ambulances from arriving to carry away victims’ bodies
Soldiers and police will continue searches for survivors until the end of the week, despite hopes fading of finding people alive
Instead, he said only about 100 people showed up for the Christmas Eve service, usually attended by double that number. Many congregation members had already left the area for the capital, Jakarta, or other locations away from the impact zone.
“This is an unusual situation because we have a very bad disaster that killed hundreds of our sisters and brothers in Banten,” he said, referring to the Javanese province. “So our celebration is full of grief.”
Church leaders called on Christians across Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, to pray for victims of the tsunami.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia Disaster Mitigation Agency, said there was an urgent need for heavy equipment in remote Sumur subdistrict, a hard-to-reach area near Ujung Kulon National Park that experienced heavy damage.
Some villages there have been cut off due to damaged roads and bridges, making it difficult to supply aid and help people who may be injured or trapped.
Military troops, government personnel and volunteers were searching along debris-strewn beaches. Where victims were found, yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out, and weeping relatives identified the dead.
Chunks of broken concrete and splintered wood littered the coast where hundreds of homes and hotels had stood.
A rescuer walks among debris in a devastated area after a tsunami hit the Sunda Strait in disaster-prone Indonesia
Damage caused by a tsunami is seen in the Sumber Jaya village in Sumur, Pandeglang. 16,000 people have been left displaced by the natural disaster
Traditional fishing boats are seen damaged after being hit by a tsunami in the Teluk village, in Banten province
A sunken vessel is pictured after a tsunami hit in Anyer, Indonesia
A woman walks amid debris at a tsunami-ravaged village in Sumur, Indonesia
Villagers inspect what is left of their homes and livelihoods after a tsunami hit Tanjung village last week
The waves followed an eruption and apparent landslide on Anak Krakatau, or “Child of Krakatoa,” a volcanic island that formed in the early part of the 20th century near the site of the cataclysmic 1883 eruption of Krakatoa.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who faces what promises to be a tough re-election campaign next year, vowed to have all tsunami-detection equipment replaced or repaired.
Nugroho acknowledged on Twitter that the country’s network of detection buoys had been out of order since 2012 because of vandalism and budget shortfalls.
But the head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, said the tsunami was likely caused by Krakatau’s volcanic activity and so could not have been picked up by the agency’s sensors, which monitor conventional earthquakes responsible for more than 90 percent of Indonesia’s tsunamis.
Karnawati said the tsunami was probably caused by the collapse of a big section of the volcano’s slope.
Anak Krakatau been erupting since June and did so again 24 minutes before the tsunami, the geophysics agency said. Other scientists have said an underwater landslide may also have contributed to the disaster.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and home to 260 million people, lies along the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
The massive eruption of Krakatoa killed more than 30,000 people and hurled so much ash that it turned day to night in the area and reduced global temperatures.
Thousands were believed killed by a quake and tsunami that hit Sulawesi island in September, and an earlier quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people in August.
Photographs taken from a government rescue helicopter show homes that were badly damaged after being hit by a wall of water, triggered by an underwater landslide
Boats were swept ashore and houses left badly damaged as the Indonesia tsunami struck on Saturday
Survivors walk past destroyed homes in the Sunda Strait, in Banten, Indonesia, following the tsunami
Shipping containers converted into homes lay strewn across the shoreline after disaster struck Indonesia
Damaged scooters are collected in the yard of a house as people try to clean up following the Indonesia tsunami
A rescue worker searches for victims among debris after a tsunami hit Sunda Strait at Carita district in Pandeglang, Indonesia
Indonesian marines search for the tsunami victims at a beach in Sumur, Indonesia
The timing of the tsunami over the Christmas season evoked memories of the Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake on December 26, 2004, which killed 226,000 people in 14 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.
Witnesses recalled how a light breeze was followed by a huge wave that smashed together wooden fishing boats moored off the coast.
Dented vehicles were shunted together by a wave that carried chunks of metal, felled trees and left roof tiles, wooden beams and household items strewn across roads. Some cars ended up in rice fields.
Nurjana, 20, ran for half an hour to the mountains after the tsunami hit. Her beachside stall, where she sold snacks to tourists, was washed away.
‘I opened the door straight away and saved myself. I jumped over the wall,’ she told Reuters.
‘Everything is destroyed.’
Fire and ash: An aerial view of the volcano on Sunday morning after the eruption which sent a wall of water slamming into the shore, in a natural disaster which has killed 281 people
A plume of ash rises as Anak Krakatau erupts in Indonesia on Saturday evening local time. The constant eruptions have sparked fears of a second tsunami
Another aerial view of the volcano in Indonesia shows huge clouds of smoke climbing into the sky after its devastating eruption
More than 1,000 people are also reported injured after a giant wave destroyed hundreds of homes, hotels and businesses along tourist beaches in Java and Sumatra on Saturday
Heavy equipment was being used to help with rescue efforts. Medics were sent in with the military, while groups of police and soldiers reached remote areas.
One team of volunteers who worked on disasters in Lombok and Palu was looking for victims at Villa Stephanie, one of dozens of beachside retreats, where eight people were missing.
‘It’s difficult here because it’s piled with debris,’ said West Jakarta Tagana chairman Muhammad Idris, who led the team.
‘This year has been pretty busy. The disasters have been more severe,’ he said.
At least five bodies were found in that area on Monday. Military and other rescuers used an excavator to remove cars and debris, including piles of steel roofing tangled like spaghetti.
The western coast of Banten province in Java, Indonesia’s most populated island, was also badly hit and at least 60 people were killed in Lampung in southern Sumatra, the disaster agency said.
Authorities buried 16 bodies in a mass grave in South Lampung late on Sunday at the request of relatives, Colonel Erwin Djatmiko, a military commander there, told Reuters.
Television footage showed how the tsunami washed away an outdoor stage where Indonesian rock band Seventeen was performing for hundreds of guests at a party for utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN).
At least four band members and support crew were killed, lead singer Riefian ‘Ifan’ Fajarsyah told followers in a tearful Instagram account. The band’s drummer was among the missing.
Another 29 PLN employees and relatives were also killed.
Anak Krakatau erupted again just after 9 p.m. on Saturday and the tsunami struck 24 minutes later. Earthquake geologist Ben van der Pluijm said an underwater landslide would be ‘like suddenly dropping a bag of sand in a tub filled with water’.
The eruption of Krakatau in 1883 killed more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis. Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area in 1927 and has been growing ever since.