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Indonesian Tsunami Kills over 239
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Indonesia's rescue team Tuesday continued to comb the southern coasts of the Java island to search for victims of an earthquake-triggered tsunami which hit the area Monday, as the death toll has reached 239, including three foreigners.

Ciamis regency in West Java province was the worst hit by the tsunami, with at least 172 people confirmed dead and more than 100 others missing on the Pangandaran resort beach alone.

The three foreign victims were from Netherlands, Sweden and Pakistan.

Ciamis police chief Syamsudin Janieb said the rescue team focuses on seven coastal areas, including Pangandaran.

At least 1,500 personnel from the military and the police were deployed to the area, about 250 km south of Jakarta. Security was tight in tsunami-hit areas to prevent looting, as most residents already fled the scene, said Syamsudin.

At least 5,400 people took refuge at public buildings, such as schools, mosques and village halls.

Shops were closed and classes were suspended in Ciamis Tuesday.

"That Monday afternoon, we saw tidal waves as high as a palm tree coming to the beach and we run as fast as possible for our lives," Min Laeni, a civil servant with the West Java provincial government, told the Antara news agency.

"My two colleagues escaped but the waves hit me. When I regained consciousness, I was hooked on an overturned car and later evacuated by local residents and brought to the Banjaran Hospital," he said.

The tsunami also struck Cilacap regency in Central Java, with at least 67 people dead and 63 others missing, reported the Detikcom news website.

The local meteorology and geophysics agency said the tsunami was triggered by a 6.8-magnitude earthquake centered beneath the Indian Ocean at 15:20 local time (08:20 GMT).

(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2006)


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