Published: Sun, September 30, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Indonesia Earthquake, Tsunami Causes Major Damage on Sulawesi Island

Indonesia Earthquake, Tsunami Causes Major Damage on Sulawesi Island

The shallow 7.5 magnitude tremor was more powerful than a series of quakes that killed hundreds on the Indonesian island of Lombok in July and August.

The official Antara agency quoted the head of the national disaster agency giving the latest toll in the coastal city of Palu, while authorities warned casualties were "increasing" as news arrived from remote areas cut off by the 7.5-magnitude quake and 1.5-metre (five feet) high tsunami.

Bodies of victims trapped between the rubble of collapsing buildings were also found, he said, adding that more than 350 people were injured. Bodies lay partially covered by tarpaulins and a man carried a dead child through the wreckage.

Hundreds of people who were preparing for a beach festival to celebrate Palu's anniversary were unaccounted for, he said.

Palu and Donggala are home to more than 600,000 people.

The death toll was at least 420, state media said Sunday, as rescuers scrambled to reach the stricken region and survivors helped to retrieve the remains of those killed.

Amateur footage shown by local TV stations, which could not immediately be authenticated by Reuters, showed waters crashing into houses along Palu's shoreline, scattering shipping containers and flooding into a mosque in the city.

Thousands of buildings have collapsed in Palu city, including the four-storey Antapura hospital, the eight-storey Roa-Roa hotel, a shopping mall and a bridge.

A World Vision New Zealand spokesperson, Tilly Redstone, said all its people in Indonesia had been accounted for and were okay.

The shallow, magnitude 7.5 natural disaster was more powerful than a series of quakes that killed hundreds on the Indonesian island of Lombok in July and last month.

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"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.

Ismail said he was surprised a tsunami was generated off the coast of central Sulawesi, which sits on a strike-slip fault, producing earthquakes that typically move in a horizontal motion and do not usually displace large amounts of water.

The natural disaster hit just off central Sulawesi at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just before 18:00 (11:00 GMT), the US Geological Survey said.

Dramatic video of the tsunami hitting Palu shows the high waves sweeping away several buildings and then the large tilted mosque in the town, about 80km from the quake's epicentre.

At least 48 people have been killed after a strong natural disaster and tsunami struck Indonesia. A bridge washed away and the main highway to Palu was cut off due to a landslide.

The city's airport has been reopened only for relief efforts and will remain closed until October 4 for commercial flights.

"This is already a tragedy, but it could get much worse", the Red Cross said in a statement.

Cayetano, who was in New York City for the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, added that the Philippines "is ready to respond and extend assistance to Indonesia".

No South Africans have been reported missing in a powerful natural disaster and tsunami that have hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi‚ the department of global relations and cooperation (Dirco) says. But officials said they estimated the waves had hit while the warning was in force.

Indonesian officials face another reckoning over why the tsunami alerts were pulled even as a disaster was roaring ashore.

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