News Focus - Tourists urged to temporarily avoid beaches by Andi Abdussalam

News Focus -  Tourists  urged to temporarily avoid beaches   by Andi Abdussalam

Tourists stroll at Taman Ayun Temple in Badung, Bali, on Friday (14/12/2018). ANTARA FOTO/Adhi Prayitno/aww.

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Tourism Ministry has decided to temporarily stop tourism promotions for destinations affected by last weekend?s tsunami that hit the Sunda Strait, calling on tourists to avoid beaches during Christmas and New Year holidays.

"The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) has issued a warning that the waves will be high from Dec 22 to 29, 2018, in a number of coastal areas of Indonesia. Therefore, the people and tourists are expected not to be ignorant about the government`s appeal," Guntur Sakti, chief the Ministry`s Tourism Crisis Center Team (TCC), stated in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Tourists or other holidaymakers should avoid beaches, especially those in regions affected by a devastating Sunda Strait tsunami last weekend where the ministry had also temporarily stopped tourism promotions.

Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya had earlier on Sunday instructed tourists to temporarily terminate all destination promotion activities in all regions affected by the disaster that occurred in the Sunda Strait area.

"In the emergency response phase, we instructed that all promotional activities in disaster-affected destinations be stopped," Yahya remarked through a written statement.

In order to prevent any untoward incident befalling tourists in the beach, the ministry, through the TCC, had issued a warning, calling on tourists to choose non-beach destinations for the time being.

"BMKG has appealed to people or tourists to stay 1 kilometer away from the beach. For that reason, it is recommended that for the time being, tourists choose a vacation destination other than the beach. They are also required to always update the weather information through social media account or mobile application of the BMKG," Sakti explained in Jakarta on Wednesday (Dec 26).

According to him, the public was asked to be alert of the bad weather conditions and high waves that had been predicted based on data and information received by the TCC Team from BMKG.

He reminded that tourists, while on vacation, should therefore obey the government`s and BMKG`s warning. As regard, Sakti added that his party continued to monitor conditions in Lampung and Banten after the tsunami on Saturday (Dec 22, 2018).

Hence, for the time being, the ministry also halted the promotion activities for the tourism destinations in areas affected by the Sunda Strait tsunami, such as the Carita and Anyer beaches, as well as the Tanjung Lesung tourist resort in Banten, which is one of the 10 tourism destinations branded as the New Bali.

According to Center for Data Information and Public Relations of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), up to Wednesday, the death toll from the tsunami in Sunda Strait had reached 430. The agency also noted that until the fourth day after the Sunda Strait tsunami, 1,495 people were injured, 159 people were missing, and 21,991 people were displaced due to the disaster that struck on Saturday.

"A total of 430 people died, and the number could continue to climb, as the SAR team is still focusing on its operations," BNPB Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Sutopo noted at a press conference at BNPB in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The tsunami, which hit at around 9:30 p.m. local time on Saturday (Dec 22), affected five districts, namely Pandeglang and Serang of Banten Province in Java; and South Lampung, Pesawaran, and Tanggamus of Lampung Province in Sumatra.

Of the five districts, the worst impact was felt by Pandeglang district, with 290 people dead, 1,143 people injured, 77 people missing, and 17,477 people displaced. In Serang, 25 people died, 62 were injured, 68 were missing, and 83 were displaced.

In South Lampung district, 113 people died, 289 were injured, 14 missing, and 4,200 individuals were displaced, while in Pesawaran, there was one fatality, one was injured, and 231 were displaced, whereas one person died in Tanggamus.

The Ministry of Tourism has ensured that tourist routes from Anyer Beach area to the Tanjung Lesung Tourist Resort in Banten are gradually returning to normal.

Sakti revealed that the previously closed lanes have now been opened and could be used either from Cilegon or from Pandeglang directions.

"It has gradually returned to normal. There is no debris across the road. Thanks to the hard work of the joint team of the military, police, National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), and related ministries/institutions," he noted.

According to the TCC Team, the local people whose buildings were affected, along the Anyer Beach to Tanjung Lesung areas, also took part in cleaning the buildings.

The pier for boats and speedboats in the area around the Carita Beach was damaged, and some speedboats were also damaged by the tsunami.

"With regard to electricity supply, it is in the process of recovery. There is no problem with regard to telecommunications," Sakti pointed out.

Editing by Andi Abdussalam

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