Published: Sun, September 30, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Earthquake-triggered Tsunami kills scores of people in Indonesia

Earthquake-triggered Tsunami kills scores of people in Indonesia

This latest quake comes after a series of earthquakes in July and August killed at least 623 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings on the Indonesian island of Lombok, which is situated hundreds of kilometres south-west of Sulawesi.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency put the official death toll at 384 based on hospital reports, nearly all them in the hard-hit city of Palu.

"It is not just the people in the large urban areas".

The number of casualties was no doubt increased by the fact that hundreds of people had descended on Palu's beach for a festival to celebrate the city's anniversary, due to start Friday night.

More than 600,000 people live in Palu and Donggala.

While numerous injured are being treated at local hospitals, according to CNN, at least one hospital has been structurally compromised, resulting in some of the injured being cared for in the street.

The tsunami was triggered by a strong quake that brought down buildings and sent locals fleeing for higher ground as a churning wall of water crashed into Palu, where there were widespread power blackouts. The water smashed into buildings and a large mosque that collapsed under the force.

Officials said more than 380 were dead in Palu alone, and more were unaccounted for.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

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

Yohannes Sirait, spokesman for Air Navigation Indonesia said the decision cost him his life, but potentially saved hundreds of others.

A 7.5 magnitude quake occured at a depth of 6.2miles just off Sulawesi.

With confirmed deaths only from Palu, authorities are bracing for much worse as reports filter in from outlying areas, in particular, Donggala, a region of 300,000 people north of Palu and closer to the epicentre of the quake.

A tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.5 natural disaster smashed into two cities and several settlements on Sulawesi island at dusk Friday.

In 2004, a quake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

"AirNav Indonesia has sent personnel from Makassar and Balikpapan to ensure flight navigation services at Palu airport will run well in order to maximise the recovery process after the natural disaster", said Mr Yohanes.

Aftershocks rocked the coastal city until Saturday afternoon following the massive natural disaster on Friday, which triggered the tsunami.

A key access road had been badly damaged and was partially blocked by landslides, the disaster agency said.

"This was a terrifying double disaster", said Jan Gelfand, a Jakarta-based official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. "We don't even have time yet to report this incident to our superiors", he said.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country. "There is a ship washed ashore", said Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency.

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

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