On Saturday, the 27-year-old Wadi sensed that had changed on the Anak Krakatau something. The Indonesians had driven them out to sea. “I realized that something was different with the volcano this evening. The rumbling tones sounded different, and the Lava on its summit appeared brighter than usual,” reported the fishermen to the newspaper “Jakarta Post”. Then he noticed that the sea level is raised. The waves on the beach seemed to glow suddenly white. “I thought it was the Reflection of the full moon. But then the sea level rose suddenly in a short period of time. Then I noticed that something terrible would happen.“ Just under a half an hour later, he felt a fierce wave of his fishing boat.

Till Fähnders

Political correspondent for Southeast Asia.

F. A. Z. Twitter

Later, after the sea had calmed down and he was returned to the coast, found a Wadi, like many Indonesians has only one name, a picture of destruction. Many people had been swept away by the water. Unlike the fishermen, had noticed the majority of the coastal population prior to that, nothing out of the ordinary. There are the usual warning signs of a Tsunami were missing. The sea had not pulled back as in previous disasters, first of all from the coast. And even if The disaster had hit 21.27 PM. Most of the warning signs would not be noticed due to the darkness, probably. So the people were taken by surprise on the coast of up to three meters high wave.

The element of Surprise is also likely to have a share in the high number of at least 429 deaths. 1485 people were injured, 154 on Wednesday night, still missing. In Indonesia is now being discussed about why the authorities had not warned the inhabitants of the coast, in the Strait between Sumatra and Java before the disaster. With German assistance to Indonesia had rebuilt after the devastating Tsunami on Boxing day in 2004, an expensive early warning system. At that time, approximately 220,000 people had been killed, including about 160,000 in Indonesia. On the anniversary this Wednesday, thousands of Indonesians gathered at grave sites and pray in mosques for the victims.

For the victims of the tsunami in the Sundastraße it comes too late. While the family of the fisherman Wadi survived the giant wave, others had less luck. So also the singer of the rock band Seventeen had to carry his wife and several members of the band to the grave. The Amateur video of the Moment the Tsunami wegspülte the stage of the group, was passed in the days after that, around the world.

There are extremely complex relationships that lead to such a disaster, appear to predict difficult. But Indonesia is heavily reliant on its location on the Pacific ring of fire, one of the geologically most active regions of the earth, on such warning systems. The Anak Krakatau is a volcanic island in the Sundastraße between Sumatra and Java. He arose to the place where in the year 1883, the Krakatau volcano is almost completely exploded. Hence the Name Anak Krakatu: “child of Krakatau”. The outbreak of the Krakataus was one of the greatest natural disasters of Modern times. He was led to a giant Tsunami, which claimed some 37,000 lives. The huge ash cloud affected the climate around the world.