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Jakarta Post

Rise again: Tsunami survivors open shop, hotels amid rubble

  • Vela Andapita

    The Jakarta Post

Pandeglang   /   Wed, December 26, 2018   /   09:01 pm
Rise again: Tsunami survivors open shop, hotels amid rubble Paradise lost: Staff members of the Aviredita Villa complex on Anyer Beach in Serang, Banten, prepare to move vehicles damaged by the Sunda Strait tsunami. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency reported that as of Tuesday, 429 people had been killed, 1,485 had been injured and 154 others remained missing. Meanwhile, 16,082 people are reported to have sought refuge at temporary shelters. The tsunami was caused by the eruption of Anak Krakatau, it said. (The Jakarta Post/Dhoni Setiawan)

Sixty-five-year-old Maisah sat on a bench in front of her warung (kiosk) by the quiet Jl. Raya Karang Bolong in Kampung Sambolo near Carita beach in Pandeglang, Banten. It was three days after a tsunami hit Banten and Lampung, all of her neighbors had gone to temporary shelters far away from the beach.

Sambolo is one of the areas most affected by the tsunami, where most of the buildings were damaged and dozens of people were killed. Maisah is among the lucky few homeowners along the road that were safe from the destruction.

“Look at this place. I have to open my warung. Otherwise, where would the passersby find a place to buy food or drink?” she told The Jakarta Post.

Asked whether she was worried another tsunami would strike again, Masiah said she relied on her belief that God would protect her.

About 1 kilometer away from her stall, some hotels were still open despite some damage caused by the tsunami on Saturday night. One of them was Sunset View Hotel. Receptionist Ugi said the owner of the hotel insisted on keeping the place open.

“[The hotel owner] said there must be some people looking for shelter even after the tsunami. And it’s true, most of our guests right now are police officers and rescue team members who are part of the tsunami relief effort,” she explained.

A tsunami triggered by the Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait struck coastal areas of Lampung and Banten, killing 430, with over 1,400 people injured and at least 154 still missing.

Some hotels along Jl. Raya Karang Bolong put up signs in front of their buildings, offering discounts or even free of charge accommodation for tsunami volunteers who bring relief to residents.

Across from the Sunset View Hotel is Carita Seapark beach, which is operated by Perhutani. Perhutani staff members who still came to their office said the beach was open as usual. The area was safe from the tsunami because there is a sea wall near the nearest shore.

“Usually, at least 1,000 tourists pack this beach during the year-end holiday. But since the tsunami struck, we have received zero visitors,” one of the staff members named Bukhori said on Christmas Day.

“We believe that sooner or later people will go to the beach again,” he added.

While the survivors are trying to cope with damage and injuries after the disaster, local tourists from neighboring regencies are coming to witness the aftermath. The damaged tourist sites apparently have attracted tourists who come for other purposes.

A Serang resident, who chose to remain anonymous, brought her husband, two kids and younger sister along with her own children to visit Mutiara Carita Cottage. “I want my kids to see the ruin and be thankful for what they have,” she said.

Wearing a bright yellow hijab and blouse and red lipstick, she walked over the ruins of a destroyed cottage while holding her phone in front of her face, activated its front camera and then talked. She took countless selfies, got in the car and then left.