Indonesian Earthquake And Tsunami Kill At Least 380; Injure Hundreds More

Minnie Murray
September 30, 2018

The national disaster agency warned the toll was likely to rise.


Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the toll could rise into the thousands. "Every minute an ambulance brings in bodies".

Nugroho said the casualties and the damage could be greater along the coastline 300 km (190 miles) north of Palu, an area called Donggala, which is closer to the epicentre of the quake. "The three of us ran, but got separated".

Bodies of some victims were found trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, he said, adding that 540 people were injured.

The death toll has nearly doubled as search and rescue teams comb the rubble.

A young woman was pulled alive from the rubble of the Roa Roa Hotel, the news website reported. "We are hoping for any help".

"We need tents, medicines, medical personnel, tarpaulins, blankets and more of other things", he said.

"The tsunami didn't come by itself, it dragged cars, logs, houses, it hit everything on land", Nugroho told reporters.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is scheduled to visit evacuation centres in the city today.

Many did not return to their homes as night fell and slept in makeshift shelters, terrified that powerful aftershocks could topple damaged homes.

Anthonius Gunawan Agung was the last person remaining in the air traffic control tower at Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu when the 7.7 quake hit the city on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Even deliveries by sea have posed a challenge to the affected area as the tsunami severely damaged Palu's port. Homes and other buildings in the area also suffered from flooding and structural damage.

An earlier magnitude 6.1 quake in central Sulawsi killed several people, injured 10 and damaged dozens of houses. There were widespread power blackouts.

The 7.5 magnitude quake occurred at a shallow depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just off the central island of Sulawesi at 18:03 (10:03 GMT), triggering a tsunami, USA monitors say.

"Those long hours on the road are going to mean hours lost getting assistance to people who need it in the next few days", she added.

About 10,000 displaced people were scattered at 50 different places in Palu, he said.

Tributes to Agung's bravery were led by Yohannes Sirait, spokesman for Air Navigation Indonesia, who said Agung's sacrifice had potentially saved the lives of hundreds of people.

"We've got information from people that their relatives are still inside, so we're focusing on that, especially to find survivors", a rescuer identified as Yusuf, working at the ruins of the mall, told Metro TV.

The natural disaster and subsequent tsunami caused thousands of buildings to collapse, including a hotel, a shopping mall and several mosques.

In the nearby city of Donggala, a large bridge spanning a coastal river collapsed. In addition, BBC says the main road to the city of Palu has been blocked because of a landslide and a key bridge is out of action.

Friday's tremor was also felt in the far south of the island in its largest city Makassar and on neighbouring Kalimantan, Indonesia's portion of Borneo island.

The Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected by the quake and tsunami.

The initial quake struck as evening prayers were about to begin in the world's biggest Muslim majority country on the holiest day of the week, when mosques are especially busy.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the 'Ring of Fire, ' an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

- 2018: Major quakes hit Indonesia's tourist island of Lombok, killing more than 500 people, mostly on the northern side of the island.

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