Dozens killed after quake and tsunami in Indonesia

03 October, 2018, 13:31 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Patients are evacuated from a hospital following a strong earthquake in Poso central Sulawesi Indonesia

The number of people confirmed killed after a tsunami and quake in Indonesia rose dramatically to 832 on Sunday, Indonesian authorities said.

The national disaster agency put the official death toll so far at 384, all of them in the tsunami-struck city of Palu, but warned the toll was likely to rise.

There were also concerns over the whereabouts of hundreds of people preparing for a beach festival due to start Friday evening, the disaster agency said.

After his hotel collapsed, Demon told VOA's Indonesian service that he headed for higher ground along with a woman who had suffered injuries from debris including wood from collapsed buildings picked up by the waves.

Pictures supplied by the disaster agency showed a badly damaged shopping mall in Palu where at least one floor had collapsed onto the storey below, while other photographs showed major damage to buildings and large cracks across pavements.

In the nearby city of Donggala, home to almost 300,000 people, a large bridge with yellow arches that spanned a coastal river collapsed.

In the city - home to around 350,000 people - partially covered bodies lay on the ground near the shore, the day after tsunami waves 1.5 metres (five feet) came ashore. Many people are being treated in makeshift medical tents set up out on the streets.

"I just ran when I saw the waves hitting homes on the coastline", said Palu resident Rusidanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. The water smashed into buildings and the damaged mosque.

The quake and tsunami caused a major power outage that cut communications around Palu making it hard for authorities to coordinate rescue efforts.

"We hope there will be global satellites crossing over Indonesia that can capture images and provide them to us so we can use the images to prepare humanitarian aid", Nugroho said.


Some people climbed trees to escape the tsunami and survived, he said. Roads and infrastructure are poor in many areas, making access hard in the best of conditions.

AirNav said one of its air traffic controllers, aged 21, died in the quake after staying in the tower to ensure a flight he'd just cleared for departure got airborne safely. Such shallow quakes tend to be more destructive.

"It was very hard for the security guards to stop the inmates from running away as they were so panicked and had to save themselves too", he told state news agency Antara.

"Don't even think to find the inmates".

They say all resources available in the country are being devoted to rescue and relief efforts.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said UN officials were in contact with Indonesian authorities and "stand ready to provide support as required".

Sulawesi has a history of religious tensions between Muslims and Christians, with violent riots erupting in the town of Poso, not far from Palu, two decades ago.

A magnitude-7.5 temblor struck the island at a little past 6 on Friday afternoon, local time.

It lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and numerous world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur. Another series of strong quakes in mid-August killed at least a dozen on Lombok and neighbouring Sumbawa island.

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