Tag Archives: rain

Iota weakens to storm in Central America but death toll rises as rain, floods bash region

 Unleashing torrential floods even as it weakened, Storm Iota churned through Central America on Tuesday, causing swollen rivers to burst their banks, flipping roofs onto streets and killing at least nine people across the region.

The strongest storm on record to reach Nicaragua, Iota struck the coast late on Monday, bringing winds of nearly 249 km/h and flooding villages still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Eta two weeks ago.

But by Tuesday night, the winds had fallen to 80 km/h as Iota weakened to a tropical storm but heavy rainfall continued, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Iota was drenching already saturated towns and villages as it moved inland over southern Honduras and as authorities reported many people missing with some of the worst-hit areas still cut off.

“We’re flooded everywhere, the rain lasted almost all night and now it stops for an hour then comes back for two to three hours,” said Marcelo Herrera, mayor of Wampusirpi, a municipality in the interior of northeast Honduras crossed by rivers and streams.


Women walk in the rain brought by Hurricane Iota, in La Lima, Honduras on Tuesday. The Honduran government closed bridges and highways across the country on Tuesday, while opening more than 600 shelters where some 13,000 residents sought refuge. (Delmer Martinez/The Associated Press)

“We need food and water for the population, because we lost our crops with Eta,” he told Reuters.

The Honduran government closed bridges and highways across the country on Tuesday, while opening more than 600 shelters where some 13,000 residents sought refuge.

The double punch of Eta and Iota marked the first time two major hurricanes had formed in the Atlantic basin in November since records began. The Nicaraguan port of Puerto Cabezas, still partly flooded and strewn with debris left by Eta, again bore the brunt of the hit.

Frightened residents huddled in shelters.

“We could die,” said Inocencia Smith at one of the shelters. “There is nothing to eat at all,” she added, noting Eta had destroyed local farms.

Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo said at least six people had died as they were dragged down by raging rivers.

The wind tore the roof off a makeshift hospital. Patients in intensive care were evacuated, including two women who gave birth during the first rains on Monday, the Nicaraguan officials said.

‘In the hands of God’

Two people died on Providencia island, part of Colombia’s Caribbean archipelago near the coast of Central America, after it was clipped by Iota, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday evening.

Nearly all of the infrastructure on Providencia — home to some 6,000 people — had been damaged or destroyed.

Panama’s government said a person had died in its western Ngabe-Bugle region due to conditions caused by the storm.

A resident of Brus Laguna on the Honduran coast told local radio a boy was killed by a falling tree, although the mayor, Teonela Wood, said she had no reports of fatalities.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said flooding from Iota risked causing disaster after Eta.


Two people died on Providencia island, part of Colombia’s Caribbean archipelago near the coast of Central America, after it was clipped by Iota. In this photo released by the Presidency of Colombia, President Ivan Duque, second left, tours the island on Tuesday. (Nicolas Galeano/Colombia Presidential Press Office/The Associated Press)

“We are very concerned about the potential for deadly landslides in these areas as the soil is already completely saturated,” IFRC spokesman Matthew Cochrane told a media briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

About 100,000 Nicaraguans and Hondurans had been evacuated from their homes, authorities said.

Iota was about 56 kilometres southeast of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, the NHC said, moving west at 19 km/h where it could provoke “catastrophic flash flooding and mudslides.”

The center added that Iota could dump up to 76 centimetres of rain in some areas.

“We are in the hands of God. If I have to climb up trees, I’ll do it,” said Jaime Cabal Cu, a farmer in Guatemala’s Izabal province. “We don’t have food, but we are going to wait here for the hurricane that we’re asking God to stop from coming.” 

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Japan battered by more heavy rain, floods, nearly 60 dead

Pounding rain that already caused deadly floods in southern Japan was moving northeast Wednesday, battering large areas of Japan’s main island, swelling more rivers, triggering mudslides and destroying houses and roads. At least 58 people have died in several days of flooding.

By Wednesday morning, parts of Nagano and Gifu in central Japan were flooded by massive downpours.

Footage on NHK television showed a swollen river gouging into the embankment, destroying a highway, while in the city of Gero, the rising river was flowing just below a bridge.

In a mountainous town of Takayama, several houses were hit by a mudslide, their residents all safely rescued.

In Kagoshima, a pickup truck was hit by a mudslide and fell into the ocean, but the driver was airlifted out with a head injury, according to Fuji Television. In another town in Oita, two brothers in the 80s were dug up alive by rescuers after a mudslide smashed into their hillside house, NHK said.

As of Wednesday morning, the death toll from the heavy rains starting over the weekend had risen to 58, most of them from the hardest-hit Kumamoto prefecture. Four others were found in Fukuoka, another prefecture on Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island.


The lobby of a hot-spring hotel is covered with mud after flooding caused by heavy rain in Hita city, Oita prefecture, southwestern Japan on Tuesday. (Miyuki Saito/Kyodo News/The Associated Press)

Across the country, about 3.6 million people were advised to evacuate, although evacuation is not mandatory and the number of people who actually took shelter was not provided.

Rain subsided by Wednesday afternoon in many areas, where residents were busy cleaning up their homes and work places.

In Gero, a man washed down mud at the entrance of his riverside house despite the evacuation advisory. “I was told to run away and my neighbours all went, but I stayed,” he said. “I didn’t want my house to be washed away in my absence.”

In Oita, teachers at a nursery school were wiping the floor and drying the wet furniture. “I hope we can return to normal life as soon as possible,” Principal Yuko Kitaguchi told NHK.

Rain, flooding hamper rescue efforts

Though the rains were causing fresh flooding threats in central Japan, flooding was still affecting the southern region. And search and rescue operations continued in Kumamoto, where 14 people are still missing.

Tens of thousands of army troops, police and other rescue workers mobilized from around the country to assist, and the rescue operations have been hampered by the rains, flooding, mudslides and disrupted communications.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga urged residents to use caution. “Disasters may happen even with little rain where grounds have loosened from previous rainfalls,” he said.

Suga pledged continuing search and rescue effort, as well as the government:s emergency funds for the affected areas.

Japan is at high risk of heavy rain in early summer when wet and warm air from the East China Sea flows into a seasonal rain front above the country. In July 2018, more than 200 people, about half of them in Hiroshima, died from heavy rain and flooding in southwestern Japan.

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Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s ‘Rain on Me’ Costume Designer Dishes on Futuristic Looks (Exclusive)

Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s ‘Rain on Me’ Costume Designer Dishes on Futuristic Looks (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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Flooded Venice records 3rd exceptional tide as other parts of Italy hit with rain, snow

Venice was hit Sunday by a record third exceptional tide in the same week while other parts of Italy struggled with a series of weather woes, from rain-swollen rivers to high winds to an out-of-season avalanche.

Stores and museums in Venice were mostly closed in the hardest-hit area around St. Mark’s Square, but tourists donned high rubber boots or even hip waders to witness and photograph the spectacle.

Most were disappointed when officials closed the historic square as winds rippled across the rising waters. The doors of the famed St. Mark’s Basilica were securely shut to the public, an authorities took precautions — stacking sandbags in canal-side windows — to prevent salt-laden water from entering the crypt again.

Venice’s Tide Office said the peak tide of 1.5 metres hit just after 1 p.m. local time but a weather front off the coast blocked southerly winds from the Adriatic Sea from pushing the tide to the predicted level of 1.6 metres. By early evening, the level was less than a meter.

Still it marked the third time since Tuesday night’s 1.87-metre flood — the worst in 53 years — that water levels in Venice had topped 1.5 metres. Since records began in 1872, that level had never been reached even twice in one year, let alone three times in one week.

While Venetians had a bit of relief, days of heavy rainfall and snowfall elsewhere in Italy swelled rivers to worrisome levels, triggered an avalanche in the Alps and saw dramatic rescues of people unable to flee rising waters.


People are seen in a bar amid rising water in Venice on Sunday. Many store owners in the swanky area around St. Mark’s completely emptied their shops, while others put their wares as high as possible and counted on automatic pumping systems to keep the water at bay. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via The Associated Press)

In Venice, many store owners in the swanky area around St. Mark’s completely emptied their shops, while others put their wares as high as possible and counted on automatic pumping systems to keep the water at bay. In one luxury boutique, employees used water vacuums and big squeegee mops to keep the brackish lagoon waters from advancing.

Venice’s mayor has put the flooding damage at hundreds of millions of euros and Italian officials have declared a state of emergency for the area. They say Venice is both sinking into the mud and facing rising sea levels due to climate change.

Luca D’Acunto and his girlfriend Giovanna Maglietta surveyed the rising water from a bridge, wondering how to reach their nearby hotel in their colorful yet inadequate rubber boots.

Watch: Life-long Venice resident on impact of flooding

The CBC’s Natasha Fatah talks to Asia Busetto, lifelong Venice resident, on the impact of the flooding. 4:49

“We made the reservation this week before the floods and had paid already, so we came,” said D’Acunto, a 28-year-old from Naples. “Instead of a romantic trip, we’ll have an adventurous one.”

Most museums were closed as a precaution, but the Correr Museum, which overlooks St. Mark’s Square and explores the art and history of Venice, remained open. Tourists enjoyed a Venetian Spritz — a colourful aperitif with an Italian bitter and Prosecco — as the waters rose.

Officials said 280 civil protection volunteers were deployed to assist as needed. Young Venetian volunteers in rubber boots have also showed up at key sites, including the city’s Music Conservatory, to help save precious manuscripts from the invading salt water.

The flooding has raised renewed debates about the city’s Moses flood defence project, a corruption-riddled underwater barrier system that is still not operational after more than 16 years of construction and at least 5 billion euros ($ 7.3 billion Cdn) of public funding. It was supposed to be working by 2011.

Snow, rain in other parts of Italy

Floods were also hitting other parts of Italy on Sunday.

In Pisa, famed for its Leaning Tower, workers sandbagged the road along the rising Arno River, which authorities said had reached the highest level there and in another Tuscan city, Florence, since 1992.

“I ask citizens to go home and stay there,” Pisa Mayor Michele Conti, said in an appeal on state TV. He said bridges were being closed as a precaution in case the Arno overran its banks. Pisa’s offices and stores were ordered shuttered until midday Monday.

The Arno also surged through the heart of historic Florence, reaching a level near the Uffizi Galleries that was described as the highest in some 20 years. In 24 hours, 6.26 centimetres of rain had fallen in Florence, which was whipped by winds as high as 76 km/h.


Arno river overflows its banks at Sieci in Florence, Italy, on Sunday. (Claudio Giovannini/ANSA via The Associated Press)

A popular Florence tourist attraction, the Boboli Gardens, was closed as a precaution for fear of falling trees. Near the Tuscan town of Cecina, 500 people were evacuated when a local river swelled to the top of its banks.

Elsewhere in Tuscany, 2,000 people were ordered evacuated in Grosseto as the Ombrone river swelled dangerously. Near Grosseto, firefighters rescued a man clinging to a tree as floodwaters surrounded him.

In the countryside outside of Bologna, in the central-north Emilia Romagna region, an elderly couple was plucked to safety by a helicopter when the Idice river overran its banks.

In Italy’s mountainous Alto Adige, or South Tyrol region, a mid-autumn snowstorm triggered power outages and blocked roads in several Alpine valleys. The mayor of Val Martello, Georg Altstaetter, told state TV that an avalanche had damaged two houses but caused no injuries. Other homes were evacuated as a precaution in the town, which was left without electricity.

The region’s governor told people to stay home so crews could clear snow-clogged roads.


Workers remove the remains of an uprooted tree that crashed on some parked cars in the Ragusa square in Rome on Sunday. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via The Associated Press)

A windstorm overnight in the Rome area toppled scores of trees, with two falling on cars, severely injuring a motorist.

Some politicians lamented that the drama over Venice’s high tides was eclipsing the needs of other areas.

In Matera, a once-impoverished southern town that has experienced a renaissance through tourism, heavy rain sent torrents of mud racing through its streets last week, ruining shops and lodging.

“There are no minor-league regions,” said Luigi Di Maio, a populist who leads the 5-Star Movement, the government’s main party.

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No substantial rain expected along Australia’s fire-ravaged east coast for 3 months

Official weather forecasts for Australia out on Thursday showed no substantial rains for at least three months, providing grim news as firefighters battle to get more than 100 bush fires raging across the east coast under control.

Wildfires in New South Wales and Queensland states have killed four people, destroyed hundreds of homes and wiped out a million hectares of farmland and bush over the past week.

The fires have been fuelled by tinder-dry conditions after three years of drought that experts say has been exacerbated by climate change, a factor that has sparked a sharp political debate in recent days.

Firefighters have said the blazes will burn for weeks without significant rainfall.


Danny Wearne surveys damage to his property on Wednesday in Rainbow Flat, Australia. (Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said there is just a 25 per cent chance that the country’s east coast will receive average rainfall between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28.

Stoking the threat, BOM said there is more than 80 per cent chance that temperatures will exceed average levels over the next three months.

Death toll hits 4

More immediately, Rural Fire Service NSW deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said fatigued firefighters face another challenging few days.

“Conditions are starting to warm up tomorrow, into the weekend and then heating up early next week, a return to more gusty conditions. We’re in for the long haul,” Rogers told Australia’s Channel 7.

The death toll from the fires rose to four on Thursday after police reported the body of a man was discovered in NSW bushland that had been ravaged by fire.


Firefighters battle a fire in Hillville, Australia, on Wednesday. (Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

Bushfires are common in Australia’s hot, dry summers, but the ferocity and early arrival of the fires in the southern spring this year has caught many by surprise and stoked an increasingly acrimonious political debate about climate change.

PM bats away questions about climate change

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has repeatedly batted away questions on that issue during the current crisis, drawing criticism from climate activists and opposition lawmakers.

A group of former fire chiefs on Thursday said the government’s refusal to discuss climate change issues were impeding preparations for large-scale fires.

Greg Mullins, a former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner, said he and 23 other fire and emergency chiefs had been trying to have a meeting with Morrison since April because they “knew that a bush fire crisis was coming.”

Instead, he said current fire chiefs had been locked out of discussions and were “not allowed” to mention climate change.

“This government fundamentally doesn’t like talking about climate change,” Mullins told reporters in Sydney.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said earlier in the week that linking the fires to the government’s support of the coal industry was “the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies.”

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‘The biggest problem will be the rain’: Tropical storm Dorian heads for Puerto Rico

Tropical storm Dorian made a last-minute shift in its path on Tuesday, threatening Puerto Rico with a direct hit as forecasters said it could reach near-hurricane strength in its approach to the U.S. territory.

The storm is expected to pass over or near western and central Puerto Rico on Wednesday as authorities warned of landslides, widespread flooding and power outages.

“Practically the entire island will be under sustained tropical storm force winds,” said Roberto Garcia, director of U.S. National Weather Service San Juan, during a news conference late Tuesday.

However, he said the forecast could change overnight, adding that late shifts occur with storms such as Dorian that do not have a well-defined centre.

Dorian was located about 480 kilometres southeast of Ponce, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday night. The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it had maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h and was forecast to strengthen during the next 24 hours as it moves west-northwest at 20 km/h. The storm is expected to dump 10 to 15 centimetres of rain with isolated amounts of 20 centimetres.

The change in the storm’s course concerned many across the U.S. territory, where some 30,000 homes still have blue tarps as roofs nearly two years after Hurricane Maria. The island’s 3.2 million inhabitants still depend on a shaky power grid that has remained prone to outages since it was destroyed by the Category 4 storm.


A man fixes the tin roof of a stilt house in Puerto Rico in preparation for the storm. (Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters)

The NHC issued a hurricane watch for Puerto Rico and a tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A tropical storm watch was in force for the Dominican Republic from Samana to Puerto Plata.

In anticipation of the storm, U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency late Tuesday for Puerto Rico, the White House said in a statement. The declaration allows for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance in coordination with disaster preparedness efforts on the island.

Dorian has already caused power outages and downed trees in Barbados and St. Lucia, and a still-uncertain long-term track showed the storm near Florida over the weekend.

In Puerto Rico, some grocery stores ran out of bottled water as people rushed to buy supplies including generators and filled their cars with gasoline.

“The biggest problem will be the rain,” said Roberto Garcia, a forecaster with the National Meteorological Service in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez signed an executive order Monday declaring a state of emergency and provided a list of all the new equipment that public agencies have bought since Hurricane Maria.

“I want everyone to feel calm,” she said. “Agency directors have prepared for the last two years. The experience of Maria has been a great lesson for everyone.”

Officials also said public schools and government offices would remain closed through at least Thursday.

“We learned our lesson quite well after Maria,” Vazquez said. “We are going to be much better prepared.”


Volunteer members of the Roving Response Team remove a tree blocking a road Tuesday after tropical storm Dorian passed overnight in Brighton St. George, Barbados. (Nigel R Browne/Reuters)

Dorian was expected to move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas on Thursday night or Friday.

Meanwhile, a new tropical depression formed Monday between the U.S. eastern coast and Bermuda. It was located about 510 kilometres southeast of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and was moving north at 11 km/h Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h.

It was expected to become a tropical storm on Wednesday and continue blowing off the U.S. East Coast this week on a path to Canada’s Atlantic provinces.

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At least 15 killed after heavy rain causes wall collapse in India

Police say heavy rainfall in the western India city of Mumbai caused a wall to collapse onto shanties, killing at least 15 people and injuring 66.

Multiple rescue teams were searching the area Tuesday morning after the wall collapsed during the night.

Police officer Sunil Deshmukh said in addition to those killed by the wall collapse, three people died at other places in India’s financial capital.

The rain also flooded roads and waterlogged train tracks. Thousands of railway passengers were stranded at stations overnight.

The Maharashtra state government, where Mumbai is located, said only emergency services would be functional in the city on Tuesday due to the incessant rains and the effects on transportation.

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At least 10 dead in Rio de Janeiro after a month’s worth of rain falls in just 4 hours

Heavy rains killed at least 10 people and left a trail of destruction in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, raising questions about the city’s preparedness to deal with recurring extreme weather.

Torrents of water gushed down streets, sweeping up cars and uprooting trees after rains that began around rush hour Monday evening. Rains slowly weakened by Tuesday evening, but Mayor Marcelo Crivella said the city was still in “crisis” mode, the highest of three levels.

Schools were closed and people were urged to avoid non-essential traffic until further notice.

City officials said 152 millimetres of rain fell in just four hours Monday night, more than the average for the whole month of April.

A street in Rio damaged by heavy rains. Officials closed schools and urged people to avoid non-essential traffic. (Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press)

The botanical garden neighbourhood, a tourist destination, was one of the most badly hit areas, receiving 231 millimetres in a 24-hour period. Local television stations showed firefighters in that neighbourhood wading through knee-deep water pulling a small boatload of children evacuated from a school bus on a flooded street.

Sirens sounded in 20 flood-prone areas of the city, alerting people to make their way to pre-established safe spaces.

But no alarm was given in the Babilonia slum, which sits on a hill behind the iconic Sugarloaf mountain. The fire department said two women there died in a mudslide, and local residents complained about the lack of warning.

The mayor, acknowledging the city’s lack of preparedness for the deluge, said sirens did not sound in Babilonia because the water had not reached the minimum threshold to activate the alarms. He said officials would look into lowering this threshold in the future.

What it looks like when that much rain falls in so little time:

Parts of Rio de Janeiro were no match for the hundreds of millimetres of rain that poured down over just four hours Tuesday. 0:34

Hillside slums are particularly vulnerable to mudslides and city officials said more than 100 communities in Rio have been identified as having “high geological risks.” Crivella said Rio has plans to improve safety, but complained of a lack of federal funding.

The mayor said a recent study carried out by the city identified about 200,000 road potholes and rainwater networks that needed fixing, pressing President JairBolsonaro for more federal funding.

“We’re talking about hundreds of millions” of reals, the mayor said on Globo TV news (one Brazilian real is about 35 cents Cdn). 

An abandoned vehicle sits in floodwaters. The mayor is calling for hundreds of millions of Brazilian reals to fund better flood preparedness. (Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press)

A storm with torrential downpours and strong winds just two months ago killed six people, prompting Rio residents to ask what the city is doing to protect them from routine weather events.

Rio’s fire department said that by Tuesday evening it had registered 10 deaths from the latest storm, including two adults and a child who were buried in a car by a mudslide. According to news portal G1, the three victims were a little girl, her grandmother and their taxi driver.

Firefighters spent hours trying to reach the vehicle, going through mud, rubble and fallen trees.

Rescue workers carry a body at the site of a mudslide at the Babilonia slum in Rio Tuesday. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters)

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Indonesian rescuers struggle against heavy rain to reach tsunami-hit villages

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, or child of Krakatau, almost obscuring the volcanic island where a crater collapse at high tide on Saturday sent waves up to five meters high smashing into the coast on the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra islands.

Indonesia's meteorology agency (BMKG) said 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-kilometer 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.

Roads 'damaged and clogged'

A state of emergency has been declared until Jan. 4, which authorities hope will make it easier to deploy assistance, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the national disaster mitigation agency.

Search and rescue teams were focused on the town of Sumur near the southwest tip of Java, but "the roads are damaged and clogged" and helicopters had to be deployed to carry out assessments and evacuations, he added.

A man holding an umbrella watches as personnel search through the debris of his damaged house after a tsunami, in Sumur, Banten province, Indonesia on Dec. 26. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Volunteers were having to piece together makeshift bridges out of concrete blocks after the waves washed away infrastructure along the coast.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago that sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire." This year, the country has suffered its worst annual death toll from disasters in more than a decade.

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

The Saturday evening tsunami followed the collapse of an area of the volcano island of about 64 hectares, or about 90 soccer pitches.

The waves engulfed fishing villages and holiday resorts, leaving a coast littered with the matchwood of homes, crushed vehicles and fallen trees. Children's toys and rides at a seaside carnival in Sumur were left scattered along a swampy beach.

The surge of seawater also left dozens of turtles, weighing several kilograms, stranded on land, and some volunteer rescuers worked to carry them back to the sea.

'We're restless'

On Sebesi Island in the middle of the Sunda Strait, helicopters had been dispatched to evacuate residents.

Along the coast, thousands of people are staying in tents and temporary shelters like mosques or schools, with dozens sleeping on the floor or in crowded public facilities. Rice and instant noodles have been delivered to many shelters, but clean water, wet weather gear, fresh clothes, and blankets are in short supply, some evacuees said.

Debris and damaged property is seen after a tsunami, in Sumur, Banten province, Indonesia. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Ade Hasanah, 45, staying in an emergency centre with her children, said people were being told not to return to their homes.

"It's safe here," she said. "We hope if the children are safe and the situation is stable, we can go home quickly. We're restless."

In 1883, the volcano then known as Krakatoa erupted in one of the biggest blasts in recorded history, killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis and lowering the global surface temperature by one degree Celsius with its ash.

Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area in 1927 and has been growing ever since.

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Rain ends in northern California as search for wildfire victims continues

The rains that have drenched northern California for days were forecast to diminish on Saturday, giving way to clear skies as teams continue their search for the remains of victims of the deadliest wildfire in the state's history.

The so-called Camp Fire all but obliterated the town of Paradise, 280 kilometres northeast of San Francisco, on Nov. 8, killing at least 84 people and destroying nearly 14,000 homes.

Some 475 people from Paradise and surrounding communities remain unaccounted for, according to a list from the Butte County Sheriff's Office. Drone footage provided by Paradise to help residents see if their homes survived showed how the fire leapt from house to house in the mountain community of 27,000.

Paradise was a popular destination for retirees, and two-thirds of the victims named so far were aged over 65.

The 50 to 80 millimetres of rain that fell in the area during the last few days turned ash from the thousands of homes that were destroyed into slurry, complicating the work of finding bodies reduced to bone fragments.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea has warned that remains of victims may be "very small bone fragments," and some may never be found.

Firefighting teams had contained 95 percent of the blaze, which torched 62,000 hectares — an area five times the size of San Francisco, said Andrew Freeborn, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire.

Thousands of people forced to flee Paradise spent Thanksgiving in warehouses in the nearby city of Chico, or with friends or relatives in nearby towns. 

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