Published: Sun, September 30, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

At least 384 killed in Indonesian quake, tsunami

At least 384 killed in Indonesian quake, tsunami

Some people climbed trees to escape the tsunami and survived, he said.

We haven't seen any aid heading in and there is still no communication link to the town of Donggala.

Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, was working at Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie Airport in Palu on the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday night, when a 6.1 magnitude tremor hit, followed by a 7.5-magnitude quake.

The figure is from the hard-hit city of Palu alone, where hundreds of people are injured and thousands of homes damaged or destroyed.

At least 540 people had been badly injured as hospitals struggled to cope with the influx of casualties.

Photos confirmed by authorities showed bodies lined up on a street on Saturday, some in bags and some with their faces covered by clothes.

Commercial flights to Palu were going to be suspended until October 4, with only emergency and humanitarian flights allowed to land, but the Indonesian government announced later on Saturday the airport would reopen for commercial flights on Sunday.

Power and telecommunications have gone down, the main road to Palu has been blocked due to a landslide, and a key bridge brought down, hindering rescue efforts.

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

"We're now getting limited communications about the destruction in Palu city, but we have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying", he said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo was scheduled to visit evacuation centres in the city on Sunday.

Some of the worst hit areas include the districts of South Banewa, Central Banewa, Sinhue and Soyol in Donggala Regency, "but we have not been able to access these areas" Sutopo said.

"Canada is deeply saddened by the loss of life and awful destruction wrought by the powerful quake and tsunami that hit Indonesia yesterday", Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.

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.

Palu was hit by tsunami in 1927 and 1968, according to BNPB.

Many bodies were found on Saturday along the shoreline of the Indonesian city of Palu on Sulawesi island which was hit by a major quake and tsunami, as the death toll rose to 48 people and hundreds unaccounted for, authorities said, Reuters reported.

The Disaster Agency spokesman added that authorities believed hundreds of people were preparing for a festival due to be held near the beach in Palu on Sunday, and that they were now missing because of the tsunami.

Just 34 minutes after Indonesia was hit by another major quake, officials called off a tsunami warning.

- Palu and Donggala have been hit by tsunamis several times in the past 100 years, according to Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency.

In Palu, more than 16,000 people were evacuated after the disaster struck.

Bodies of victims trapped between the rubble of collapsing buildings were also found, he said, adding that more than 350 people were injured.

The region's tsunami warning system has been slammed as inadequate in the wake of the disaster, as the closest sensor was more than 300km away, and only registered a small "six centimetre" wave, leading the initial tsumami warning to be lifted.

"Worryingly, the National Disaster Management Agency has said they've received no information from the district of Donggala, which is closer to the epicentre of the quake", said Helen Szoke of Oxfam.

An air traffic controller at Palu airport died ensuring a plane took off safely after Friday's quake.

"There was no time to save ourselves".

Electricity and communications have been cut off, making it hard to assess the damage in Palu and nearby fishing community of Donggala, Sutopo said.

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