TODAY |

Almost 300 Kiwis registered as being in Indonesia, death toll from tsunami rises to 168

At least 168 people have died after a tsunami hit beaches in Indonesia's Sunda Strait before dawn today, the government's Disaster Mitigation Agency said.

The tsunami was triggered by the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, Reuters reports.

Another 745 people are believed to have been injured in the incident, the agency said.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokesperson told 1 NEWS almost 300 Kiwis were currently registered as being in Indonesia.

"The New Zealand embassy in Jakarta is in contact with local authorities in Indonesia. We have no information to suggest New Zealanders have been affected by the tsunami at this stage".

The spokesperson said New Zealanders in the area affected by the tsunami are advised to follow the advice of the local authorities, and to notify friends and family in New Zealand of their status.

Affected Kiwis are also advised to register their details on the SafeTravel website, which currently has 299 New Zealanders registered as being in Indonesia.

Pandeglang District and Serang, in Banten Province, and South Lampung, in Lampung, were hit the hardest.

The agency says the tsunami may have been caused by undersea landslides after the volcano erupted.

Scientists say the tsunami could have been caused by the eruption of Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island formed over years from the nearby Krakatau volcano. They also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon.

Øystein Lund Andersen said today he was taking pictures of the volcano when when he suddenly saw a big wave come towards him.

"I had to run, as the wave passed the beach and landed 15-20m inland," he wrote on Facebook. "Next wave entered the hotel area where i was staying and downed cars on the road behind it.

"Managed to evacuate with my family to higher ground trough forest paths and villages, where we are taken care of (by) the locals. Were unharmed, thankfully.

"So encountered my first tsunami it seems, hopefully my last."

Today's disaster comes less than three months after Indonesia was jolted by a magnitude-7.5 earthquake and large tsunami that resulted in more than 1400 deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.