Indonesia tsunami and earthquake kill 384, leave hundreds injured

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

A powerful 7.5 magnitude quake 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.

"We need heavy equipment for this evacuation process", Nugroho said.

In the city of about 350,000 people, partially covered bodies lay on the ground near the shore, the day after 1.5m waves came ashore.

Hundreds of people had gathered for a festival on the Palu's beach when the wall of water smashed onshore at dusk on Friday, sweeping many to their deaths and destroying anything in its path.

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

Medical team members help patients outside a hospital after an quake and a tsunami hit Palu, on Sulawesi island on September 29, 2018.

Metro TV played an amateur footage which showed water remaining from the tsunami, a collapsed bridge, large cracks in roads and buildings badly damaged.

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Indonesia's disaster agency said some people scaled trees to escape the huge waves.

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.

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. He said others were unaccounted for, without giving an estimate.

The quake hit at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just before 6pm local time (12pm United Kingdom time) on Friday, the US Geological Survey said.

A video footage of the devastation that the tsunami caused in Palu, some 80 km away from the epicenter of the quake, shows waves hitting buildings, and crashing through some others already damaged from the natural disaster.

His fearless actions could potentially have saved the lives of all the people on board the plane, as the city was later devastated by a six-metre high tsunami caused by the quake.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency warned early on of reports showing that "victims died in the rubble of a collapsed building". "We don't even have time yet to report this incident to our superiors", he said.

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"This is already a tragedy, but it could get much worse".

"And then it makes it higher", said Nazli Ismail, a geophysicist at the University of Syiah Kuala in Banda Aceh on Indonesia's Sumatra island, where a magnitude-9.1 quake spawned a tsunami in 2004, killing 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

The nearby cities of Donggala and Mamuju were also ravaged, but little information was available due to damaged roads and disrupted telecommunications.

Aid is being flown from the capital Jakarta into Palu airport, using the part of its runway still intact.

One of the most seismically active zones on the planet, it stretches from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific all the way across to California and South America on the other. Last month, a powerful quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people.

His actions were praised by a spokesman for Air Navigation Indonesia, who said that his decision to stay and give clearance to the flight potentially saved hundreds of lives.

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