Toll seen rising after Indonesian quake, tsunami kills hundreds

30 September, 2018, 09:56 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • An earthquake and a tsunami hit Palu on Sulawesi island

Indonesia's disaster agency said at least 48 people have been killed from the latest quake but that the figure could rise.

People in Central Sulawesi and West Sulawesi provinces were told to evacuate to higher ground, though it remains unclear as to whether people remained in their homes because of the contradicting government advice.

Donggala is a city of about 270,000 people, while the nearby city of Palu is home to about 330,000 people.

The utterly devastating tsunami has taken the lives of at least 384 people in Indonesia.

After a 7.5-magnitude natural disaster yesterday evening, a tsunami engulfed the coastal city of Palu in Indonesia, home to 350,000 people.

The geography of Palu Harbour meant that waves of up to six metres smashed the town, and footage from Indonesia's Red Cross shows just some of the devastation, with buildings destroyed and streets lined with mud.

"Many bodies were found along the shoreline because of the tsunami, but the numbers are still unknown", said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency BNPB said in news briefing in Jakarta.

The quakes come a month after a trio of earthquakes hit several islands in the South Pacific and Indonesia, including Lombok, which is still recovering from the effects of an August 5 natural disaster that killed more than 430 people.

In a statement, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said, "We grieve with our Indonesian brothers and sisters and stand hand in hand with them in praying for all of those who lost their lives in this tragedy".

President Joko Widodo said on Saturday that troops were en route to the area to reinforce rescue teams and help retrieve bodies.


The military has started sending in aircraft with aid from Jakarta and other cities, authorities said.

A video footage of the devastation that the tsunami caused in Palu, some 80 km away from the epicenter of the quake, shows waves hitting buildings, and crashing through some others already damaged from the natural disaster.

In December 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake off Sumatra in western Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

With Palu airport closed, relief workers have to make their way to Palu by road.

Smaller airports were still operating but are unable to receive heavy aircraft, while Palu's port was also damaged and the road between Poso and Palu has been blocked because of a landslide. But officials said they estimated the waves had hit while the warning was in force.

"We have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying".

Almost 400 people were killed when a powerful quake sent a tsunami barreling into the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, officials said Saturday, as hospitals struggled to cope with hundreds of injured and rescuers scrambled to reach the stricken region. "There is a ship washed ashore", Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency, told BBC.com.

One of the most seismically active zones on the planet, it stretches from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific all the way across to California and South America on the other.

In December 2004, a massive 9.1 magnitude natural disaster off Sumatra in western Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

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