Earthquake in Indonesia on September 28 2018 10:59 AM (UTC).
The death toll from Indonesia's earthquake and tsunami has climbed past 2,000, as authorities prepare to end the search for thousands of victims feared buried in mud and rubble in the hardest-hit neighborhoods of Sulawesi island. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesperson for the country's disaster agency, told reporters on Tuesday that the toll from the September 28 twin disasters had climbed to 2,010. He said authorities will hold prayers on Thursday to mark the end of the search in the Petobo, Balaroa and Jono Oge areas of Palu city, where the quake caused the loose soil to liquefy, swallowing houses and burying the occupants with them. Efforts to retrieve bodies, many entombed under mud and rubble as deep as 3 meters, will not continue because of the difficult terrain and advanced state of decomposition that made the bodies unrecognizable and could cause contamination, Nugroho said. "On October 11, we will hold joint prayers in Balaroa, Petobo, and Jono Oge to end the evacuation of bodies," he told a daily news briefing on the relief efforts. Most of the bodies have been found in Palu, where more than 10,000 rescue workers continued to scour expanses of debris. "We're not sure what will happen afterward, so we're trying to work as fast as possible," said rescue worker Ahmad Amin, 29, referring to the deadline, as he took a break in the badly hit Balaroa neighborhood. "There are so many children still missing, we want to find them quickly," said Amin, who is from Balaroa and has relatives unaccounted for. At least nine excavators were working through the rubble of Balaroa, picking their way through smashed buildings and pummelled vehicles. At least a dozen bodies were recovered, according to a Reuters news agency photographer. The decision to end the search on Thursday has angered some relatives of the missing but taxi driver Rudy Rahman, 40, said he had to accept it. "As long as they keep searching, I will be here every day looking for my son," said Rahman, who said he had lost three sons in the disaster. The bodies of two were found, the youngest is missing. "This is the only thing I can do, otherwise I would go insane," he told Reuters, choking back tears. "If they stop, what can I do? There are four meters of soil here. I couldn't do it on my own." While the official search will end, Nugroho, the disaster agency spokesman, said authorities will not stop villagers from continuing to dig through the ruins for their loved ones. The stricken areas, which now look like vast wastelands, will be turned into memorial parks to remember the victims and survivors will be relocated to safer locations, he said. Nugroho said the disaster agency has not yet been able to verify unofficial estimates from village chiefs in Balaroa and Petobo that 5,000 people are missing in the two areas. He said the region had recorded 508 aftershocks since the magnitude 7.5 earthquake, which caused a giant wall of water that destroyed large swaths of land in Palu and surrounding areas. The disaster destroyed more than 65,000 homes and buildings and displaced more than 70,000 people. Thousands are still living in temporary shelters and tents across Palu, but life is beginning to return to normal in some areas, with plans for redevelopment underway, officials said.
Indonesian authorities states that the death toll resulting from the earthquake and tsunami that hit the island of Celebes on September 28 has reached 1,994, while about 5,000 people are missing. Colonel Muh Thohir, chief spokesman of the regional military command, said those figures may increase since they have no orders to stop searches. Most of the corpses are already buried in common graves and the rest were commissioned by their relatives, the members of the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), said during a news conference in Jakarta. The number of hospitalized wounded people exceeds 2,500, more than 74,000 Indonesians remain in evacuation centers and some 65,000 houses are destroyed or damaged. The island of Celebes was hit 10 days ago by a series of tremors, the strongest one measuring 7.7, and waves up to three meters high. Indonesia is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the areas with the highest risk of tectonic movements in the world.
Indonesia's disaster agency says the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami that struck Sulawesi island has risen to 1763. Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says an estimated 5,000 people from Petobo and Balaroa - two villages where homes were sucked into a sinkhole during the September 28 earthquake - remained unaccounted for. "If they are not found as of October 11, they will be declared missing," he said. Some limited searching might still be undertaken but large-scale searches with many personnel and heavy equipment would cease, he said. Sunday's announcement came after the updated death toll from the 7.5 magnitude quake and a tsunami. Bodies are still being recovered, especially from ruins of buildings in the small city of Palu and from neighborhoods hit by liquefaction, a phenomenon that turns the ground into a roiling quagmire, in the south of city. Many hundreds of people are still buried in mud and debris in the south of Palu, where neighborhoods were obliterated by liquefaction and desperate relatives have been seeking help to find loved ones. Dozens of rescuers removed 34 bodies from one place on Saturday. Nugroho said the debris would be removed from those places and they would be turned into public spaces like parks and sports venues. "We don't want the community to be relocated to such dangerous places," he said. Most of the dead have been found in Palu, the region's main urban centre. Figures for more remote areas, some just reconnected to the outside world by road, are trickling in. Sulawesi is one of Indonesia's five main islands and, like the others, is exposed to frequent earthquakes and tsunamis. In 2004, a quake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia. A big aid operation is gearing up to help hard-hit communities where some 70,000 people have been displaced. Australia announced extra aid on Saturday, taking the nation's total assistance to $10.25 million. Indonesia has often been reluctant to be seen as relying on outside help to cope with disasters. The government shunned foreign aid this year when earthquakes struck the island of Lombok but it accepted help from abroad for Sulawesi. The government says it particularly needs aircraft, generators, tents, water treatment and field medical facilities.
The official death toll from a powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi a week ago reached 1,571 on Friday. As rescue and recovery efforts continued, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said 113 others remain missing, with the number of people displaced following the magnitude 7.5 quake and ensuing tsunami unchanged at 70,821. A South Korean man who had been listed as missing was found dead under the rubble of the Roa Roa Hotel in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province. Palu and the nearby coastal town of Donggala are two of the worst-hit areas where most of the deaths have occurred after bearing the brunt of tsunami waves up to 3 meters high. As many locals desperately wait for basic supplies and other kinds of help, police said Thursday evening that 42 people have been arrested for allegedly looting minimarts, other shops or vehicles carrying humanitarian assistance. The emergency status will be extended to 14 days from seven days.
In our news wrap Wednesday, the death toll from Indonesia's powerful earthquake and tsunami has climbed to 1,407. More than 70,000 residents remain homeless, as humanitarian aid slowly trickles in. Also, the White House stepped up its denial that President Trump and his father engaged in legally dubious schemes to avoid inheritance taxes. People are trying to put their lives back together again. But when your home has been crushed and splintered as though it's been trampled by giants, it's hard to know where to start.
The number of people known to have died in Indonesia in Friday's earthquake and tsunami has risen to 1,347, disaster response officials say. The death toll jumped on Tuesday from a previous confirmed figure of 844. The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu. Police are guarding shops against looters as people desperately search for food, fuel and water. Officers initially took a lenient approach to survivors seizing basic goods, deputy national police chief Ari Dono Sukmanto said, but some people have since been arrested for stealing computers and cash. "After day two the food supply started to come in, it only needed to be distributed," he said. "We are now re-enforcing the law." Humanitarian relief convoys entering the city are being escorted by soldiers and police. And there are fears some survivors may still be trapped under the rubble of buildings.
A top Indonesian official said early Tuesday that the death toll in last week's magnitude 7.5 earthquake and tsunami reached 1,234. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
The death toll on the island of Sulawesi stands at 844 people, but officials expect that number to climb as rescuers on Monday continue to sift through the destruction left by a powerful earthquake and tsunami. Two days after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the island and 3-meter-high waves crashed onto its northern shore, authorities continued combing through chunks of concrete and lumber searching for survivors. Getting into Palu, which saw the worst of the destruction, has been difficult. An airport runway was damaged, limiting flights into the area, and several roads and bridges have been washed out, said Jan Gelfand, who heads the International Red Cross delegation in Indonesia. People are afraid to go inside because of the incessant aftershocks, he said. Cut off from the rest of the island because communications are down, people in the area are in desperate need of water, food, and healthcare, Gelfand said. The Red Cross is trying to get kitchens, surgical teams and mobile clinics into the region. Indonesian Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho estimates 2.4 million people were affected by Friday's earthquake. Seventy-one foreigners were in Palu at the time of the quake and most were safely evacuated to Jakarta.

At least five foreigners, including three French nationals as well as a Malaysian and a South Korean national, are unaccounted for, he said. As of Sunday, there were no reports of US citizens affected in the quake, the US Embassy in Jakarta told CNN. Survivors walked through floodwater and piles of debris. A shopping mall turned into rubble and the large dome of a mosque collapsed in Palu, the capital city of Central Sulawesi Province and home of 350,000 people. Homes and businesses along the coast, many of them tin-roof shanties, were washed away, as were vehicles. Damaged hospitals were forced to shut down. Families carried the few belongings they could retrieve in plastic bags and backpacks to outdoor shelters where thousands hope to receive aid. Hundreds were badly injured and at least 17,000 people were left homeless, Nugroho said. A large number of bodies from the earthquake and tsunami in Donggala District and Palu will be buried in mass graves on Monday, Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo told Indonesian state media on Sunday. "Most of the corpses have started rotting so that we are going to bury them in mass graves as quickly as possible to prevent them from posing a risk of epidemic diseases," Prasetyo said. The lack of heavy equipment and personnel has slowed rescue efforts in the coastal city, where workers were scrambling Sunday to rescue about 50 people trapped beneath the debris of a collapsed hotel. Indonesia's President Joko Widodo arrived in Palu on Sunday to survey the affected areas.

"I am asking all of you to work day and night to complete every task related to the evacuation. Are you ready?" he asked the country's military. Bambang Soesatyo, speaker of the People's Representative Council and a member of Golkar Party, told ANTARA News on Sunday the government needs to increase the scale of relief operations to the affected area. Many people had to sleep on the side of the road, Soesatyo said, and many patients were treated in open spaces. Residents are still worried about aftershocks and are afraid to return home, he said. "The relief team should immediately try to provide these needs," Soesatyo said. Electricity and communications have been cut off and roads that are severely damaged or blocked by landslides are making it difficult to assess the damage, Nugroho said. Gelfand said help is also on the way for the fishing towns of Donggala and Mamuju, two areas feared to be heavily devastated. "The Indonesian Red Cross is racing to help survivors, but we don't know what they'll find there," Gelfand said. With Palu airport closed, relief workers have to make their way there by road. Sulawesi is one of the biggest islands in the world and the drive from the nearest airport is around 10-12 hours. Hundreds of families are already mourning the loss of their loved ones, including an air traffic controller who's been hailed as a hero. Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, died in the hospital after he jumped off the traffic control tower at the Palu airport when he thought the tower was collapsing. He stayed behind to make sure a passenger airplane safely took off, according to AirNav Indonesia, the agency that oversees aircraft navigation. The current and former mayor of Palu are also among the dead, according to the Indonesian Red Cross. Authorities have said the number of victims is expected to rise as families identify their relatives among the bodies recovered.
At least 832 people have been killed after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday, the country's disaster agency confirmed Sunday. They added that the affected area is much larger than previously thought. There are also fears the death toll could rise to the "thousands" as contact is restored with remote areas where communications were downed, Vice President Jusuf Kalla has said. Rescue teams on Sunday were struggling to reach communities in affected parts of the island. Dozens of people are thought to be trapped in the rubble of a hotel and shopping mall in the city of Palu. The Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people in total could have been affected by the disasters. Thousands of buildings were destroyed by the earthquake, which was centered about 48 miles (77km) north of Palu, according to the United States Geological Survey. "We have found corpses from the earthquake as well as bodies swept up by the tsunami," said Indonesia's disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho on Saturday. The waves reached as high as six meters (18 feet), he added, saying some people were able to save themselves by climbing taller trees. Preparations for a beach festival were being made in Palu when waves struck, houses had been swept away and families remain missing. Indonesia's military dispatched cargo planes Saturday carrying medical supplies to affected areas, but rescue efforts were hampered after communications around Palu and a nearby fishing village, Donggala, which lies close to the earthquake's epicenter, had been downed. Condolences to the families of the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia was expressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin. He wrote about this in his Twitter. Also, the diplomat wished recovery to the victims of the disaster. "My deepest condolences to the families and friends who lost their loved ones in the devastating earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Wish a speedy recovery to the injured", - wrote the head of Department. As reported on our website earlier, a powerful tsunami hit the city in Indonesia after the earthquake.
The death toll from a powerful earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has reached 420, state media said Sunday, as rescuers scrambled to reach the stricken region and survivors helped to retrieve the remains of those killed. 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 earthquake and 1.5-meter (five feet) high tsunami. At least 540 people had been badly injured, an agency spokesman said, as hospitals struggled to cope with the influx of casualties. Indonesian president Joko Widodo said the military was being called into the region to help search-and-rescue teams get to victims and find bodies. Some government planes carrying relief supplies managed to land at the main airport in Palu, although officials said it would likely remain closed to commercial flights for days. There were concerns over the whereabouts of hundreds of people preparing for a beach festival that had been due to start Friday, the disaster agency said.In Palu -- home to 350,000 people -- partially covered bodies lay near the shore after waves hit the coast Friday. Survivors sifted through a tangled mess of corrugated steel roofing, timber, rubble, and flotsam up to 50 meters inland. One man was seen carrying the muddy corpse of a small child. Many did not return to their homes as night fell and slept in makeshift shelters, terrified that powerful aftershocks could topple damaged homes. Hospitals were overwhelmed by the influx of those injured, with many people being treated in the open air. 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. Giving its first official death toll earlier, Indonesia's national disaster agency said at least 48 people had been killed in Palu, while so far another 356 people had been injured. It cautioned that there would likely be many more deaths. Dramatic video footage filmed from the top floor of a parking ramp in Palu, nearly 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the quake's epicenter, showed waves of water bring down several buildings and inundate a large mosque."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 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. Indonesian president Joko Widodo said the military was being called into the disaster-struck region to help search-and-rescue teams get to victims and find bodies.

Earlier, the head of the country's search and rescue agency Muhammad Syaugi told AFP that local staff had found "many" dead bodies. People living hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter reported feeling the massive shake, which came hours after a smaller jolt killed at least one person in the same part of the country. The quake hit just off central Sulawesi at a depth of 10 kilometers just before 1100 GMT -- an early evening in Sulawesi -- the US Geological Survey said. Such shallow quakes tend to be more destructive. 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. The agency also said homes and a local hotel were flattened while a landmark city bridge was destroyed. A key road into the settlement had been badly damaged and was blocked by landslides, the disaster agency said. The main airport in Palu, capital of South Sulawesi province, was shut after the tsunami struck and was expected to stay closed for at least 24 hours, complicating any disaster relief efforts. Friday's tremor was also felt in the far south of the island in its largest city Makassar and on neighboring Kalimantan, Indonesia's portion of Borneo island. The initial quake, which was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, 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 one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth. It lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and many of the world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur
Rescue workers are hunting for survivors after a powerful earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and triggered a tsunami, killing at least 400 people. After the 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Friday (Sept. 28), water smashed into buildings and swept away homes in the coastal city of Palu, home to 350,000 people. More than 540 people are being treated in several local hospitals amid the massive destruction in Palu and 29 people are missing. The death toll could climb in the coming days, Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho warned. Electricity and communications have been cut off, making it difficult to assess the damage in Palu and nearby fishing community of Donggala, Sutopo said. "It is not just the people in the large urban areas. There are a lot of people also living in remote communities who are hard to reach" Jan Gelfand, head of the International Red Cross in Indonesia, told CNN. With Palu airport closed, relief workers have to make their way to Palu by road. Sulawesi is one of the biggest islands in the world and the drive from the nearest airport is around 10-12 hours. "We already have people en route but you never know what damage there is to the road infrastructure." In Palu, authorities are still urging residents to not go inside their homes and sleep away from buildings - fields, roads or yards because of the danger from aftershocks. After a local hospital was damaged, medical staff opted to treat dozens of wounded residents just outside the building, Sutopo said. Dr. Komang Adi Sujendra, Director of Undata Hospital in Palu was seeking help from the public following the quake. "At the moment, in our hospital, electricity is out all over Palu, roads are cracked, the phone network doesn't work," he said in a video posted on Twitter. "We are hoping for any help." "We need tents, medicine, canvas, nurses ..." An air traffic controller who stayed behind to make sure a passenger airplane took off was among the dozens of victims. Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, died in the hospital after he jumped off the traffic control tower at the Palu airport when he thought the tower was collapsing. His colleagues had evacuated the tower when they felt the earthquakes but he stayed behind to ensure that a Batik airplane safely took off, Air Nav Indonesia, the agency that oversees aircraft navigation, said in a statement. "We felt a deep heartbreak, may God gives Anthonius the best place beside him, along with other victims of Donggala earthquake," Air Nav spokesperson Yohanes Sirait said. The horrific scene began Friday when the first in a series of tremors were felt at 3 p.m. (3 a.m. ET) 35 miles (56 km) north of Palu, according to the United States Geological Survey. Three quakes of 4.9 and larger magnitudes were recorded up to three hours before the tremor near Palu, the USGS said. The tremor triggered a tsunami that hit beaches in the cities of Palu and Donggala, officials said. The tsunami was "about three meters high," Nugroho said. The shaking of the 7.5-magnitude tremor was "severe" and the likely damage following the quake was considered "moderate to heavy," the USGS said. A series of aftershock quakes were reported in the aftermath of the quake, including a 5.8 magnitude tremor just 12 minutes later. An early tsunami warning had been issued by the Indonesian meteorological agency but was later lifted after the agency ascertained that the water had receded. Indonesian president Joko Widodo said the military was being called in to the disaster-struck region to help search-and-rescue teams get to victims and find bodies.
At least 384 people have been killed after a series of earthquakes and a tsunami struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, with hundreds more people feared dead as rescue workers scramble to reach the hardest hit areas. A magnitude 7.5 earthquake was the strongest of the more than two dozen earthquakes that hit central Sulawesi on Friday, while a tsunami up to six metres high also struck coastal areas. National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Saturday afternoon that in addition to the 384 dead in Palu, the regional capital, 540 people have been injured and 29 people are missing. There are no figures yet available for the nearby city of Donggala - the hardest hit area. "The intensity of the earthquake in Donggala is higher than in Palu, so we suspect we'll see a high number of victims in Donggala, although Palu has a larger population than Donggala," Sutopo said. Donggala is a city of about 270,000 people, while the nearby city of Palu is home to about 330,000 people. Sutopo said the bodies of numerous people killed by the tsunami had been found on the shores of local beaches, but there was no official word yet on how many lives had been lost. He said the speed of the tsunami as it was approaching the shore had reached 800km/h. 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. 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. Indonesian authorities are working frantically to restore electricity and communications. "The most important things to do right now are fixing the electricity, communications, sending in food, also food for children and babies, tents, drugs. We need drugs for field hospitals. We also need people to help the victims. That's why TNI and police have sent some 700 personnel, there are also some volunteers," Sutopo said. Palu's main airport has sustained heavy damage to its runway and to its control centre. New navigation equipment for the airport was dispatched by helicopter from Makassar on Saturday morning. Commercial flights to Palu have been suspended until October 4, with only emergency and humanitarian flights allowed to land. Smaller airports were still operating but are unable to receive heavy aircraft, while Palu's port was also damaged and the road between Poso and Palu has been blocked because of a landslide. A large ship was washed 70 metres inland by the wave. 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. An earlier magnitude 6.1 quake in central Sulawesi killed several people, injured 10 and damaged dozens of houses. The strongest quake struck at 6.02pm local time (8.02pm AEST) on Friday and tsunami. It was followed by at least two dozen aftershocks. Sulawesi is about 1600 kilometres north-east of Jakarta. Amateur footage of the tsunami has gone viral on social media and has been shown on local TV stations. It depicts huge waves crashing into houses along Palu's shoreline. Photographs of many more dead bodies are also being circulated on social media. A spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said it was not aware of any Australians that have been affected by the earthquake but was continuing to make enquiries with local authorities. "At this time, details and impacts of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake [reported as 7.7 locally] on Minahassa Peninsula, Sulawesi, and a subsequent tsunami are still emerging, and extent of the damage is unknown," the spokeswoman said.
At least 30 people were killed in the bay city of Palu in Indonesia's Sulawesi island, a hospital official told Metro TV on Saturday after the area was hit by strong earthquakes and a 3-meter tsunami a day earlier. In a video that appeared to be taken at night, doctor Komang Adi Sujendra said 30 people were killed and had been taken to the hospital where he was, adding that another 12 injured needed orthopedic surgery. Authorities were having difficulties coordinating rescue efforts as the 7.5 magnitude quake caused a power outage that cut communications around Palu and the nearby fishing town of Donggala, the closest to the epicenter of the quake 27 km away. Officials had not yet provided any new information on the death toll on Saturday, but on Friday night they said initial reports showed some dead victims in the rubble of collapsing buildings. Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the tsunami caused by the earthquake hit Palu, the capital of central Sulawesi province, as well as the smaller city of Donggala and several other coastal settlements. Indonesian TV showed a smartphone video of a powerful wave hitting Palu, with people screaming and running in fear. The water smashed into buildings and a large mosque that collapsed under the force. Houses were swept away and families were reported missing, Nugroho said, adding that communications and power to the area were disrupted. "The cut to telecommunications and darkness are hampering efforts to obtain information," he said. "All national potential will be deployed, and tomorrow morning we will deploy Hercules and helicopters to provide assistance in tsunami-affected areas." The region was rocked by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake Friday and numerous strong aftershocks, including one of magnitude 6.7. An earlier magnitude 6.1 quakes in central Sulawsi killed several people, injured 10 and damaged dozens of houses. The chief of the meteorology and geophysics agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, said the tsunami waves were up to three meters high. She said the tsunami warning triggered by the biggest quake, in place for about half an hour, was lifted after the tsunami was over. Sutopo said the military was deploying troops to Palu and Donggala and the national police were also mobilizing to help the emergency response, as well as personnel from the search-and-rescue and disaster agencies. "People are encouraged to remain vigilant," Sutopo said. "It is better not to be in a house or building because the potential for aftershocks can be dangerous. People are encouraged to gather in safe areas. Avoid the slopes of hills." Palu's airport halted operations for 24 hours due to earthquake damage, according to AirNav, which oversees airline traffic in Indonesia. Mirza Arisam, a resident of Kendari, the capital of neighboring Southeast Sulawesi, said his uncle and his family of five, including three children, were on vacation in Palu and he has been unable to contact them since the tsunami hit. After the 7.5 quake struck, television footage showed people running into the streets. Women and children wailed hysterically in a video distributed by the disaster agency, which also released a photo showing a heavily damaged department store. "It was so strong. The strongest I ever felt. We all ran out of buildings," said Yanti, a 40-year-old housewife in Donggala who goes by a single name.
At least one person died and 10 were injured, according to Indonesia's Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), after a series of earthquakes struck the island of Sulawesi on Friday afternoon. Initial reports from the agency say dozens of buildings collapsed in Palu City in the Donggala region of Sulawesi. Evacuations are underway and people have been advised to remain alert and outside their homes. A localized tsunami hit beaches in the cities of Palu and Donggala as a result of the tremors, according to the BNPB. An early tsunami warning had been issued by the Indonesian meteorological agency, but was later lifted after the agency ascertained that the water had receded. BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho shared a video on Twitter of the tsunami striking the coast at Palu. "Tsunami was about three meters high," Nugroho wrote. Troops from the Indonesian National Armed Forces were being deployed to help deal with the effects of the earthquake and tsunami, according to the BNPB. Writing on his official Twitter account Friday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that he was monitoring the situation and preparing for any post-earthquake eventualities. "May our brothers and sisters remain calm and be safe," he wrote. The first in a series of tremors was felt at 3 p.m. (4 a.m. ET) 35 miles north of Palu, according to the United States Geological Survey. The largest shock -- with a magnitude of 7.5 -- was detected 50 miles north of Palu, according to USGS. The shaking of the 7.5-magnitude tremor was "severe" and the likely damage following the quake "moderate to heavy," the USGS said. Local media reports that the airport at Palu has been closed until Saturday evening. The quakes come a month after a trio of earthquakes hit several islands in the South Pacific and Indonesia, including Lombok, which is still recovering from the effects of an August 5 earthquake that killed more than 430 people.
A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi Friday evening just hours after a powerful, deadly foreshock, apparently triggered a tsunami that hit the coast minutes later. The main tremor struck at 6:02 p.m. local time Friday evening (6:02 a.m. EDT) about 35 miles northeast of Donggala, Indonesia - a town of about 300,000 - according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Shortly after, a tsunami warning was issued by Indonesia's geophysics agency, then lifted. It's believed the tsunami, confirmed by local agencies to be about 5 feet tall, struck Donggala and Palu, a coastal town of about 330,000, after the alert was canceled. Hary Tirto Djatmiko, a spokesman for the agency, confirmed to the Associated Press that a tsunami occurred and more information would be released once it was gathered. "Based on historical data and tsunami modeling, this earthquake is not capable of generating a tsunami affecting the Indian Ocean region," said the Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency of Indonesia. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster management agency, told a local TV station that houses were carried away by the tsunami and families were missing, but darkness hindered the search Friday night. "The situation is chaotic, people are running on the streets and buildings collapsed. There is a ship washed ashore," Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency, told BBC.com.There were at least 10 foreshocks and aftershocks recorded at magnitude 5 or stronger on Friday. The main quake was relatively shallow in preliminary observations - just 6.2 miles deep, according to the USGS. Earlier Friday, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake killed one person, injured several others and damaged dozens of homes, according to the AP. "It happened while we still have difficulties in collecting data from nine villages affected by the first quake," an official with Akris, the local disaster agency, told the AP. "People ran out in panic."