832 now dead after Indonesian quake, tsunami

An earthquake and a tsunami hit Palu on Sulawesi island

An earthquake and a tsunami hit Palu on Sulawesi island

Hundreds of people were confirmed dead in a tsunami that hit two central Indonesian cities, sweeping away buildings with massive waves.

Local people are working hard with the emergency services to help everyone who's been affected.

Most of those killed were in the badly hit city of Palu, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency, said in a news conference Sunday.

People from France, South Korea and Malaysia were missing, while foreigners who have been or are to be evacuated from the quake-hit areas include those from China, Germany, Singapore, Belgium, Vietnam and Thailand, Nugroho said.

"The death toll is believed to be still increasing since many bodies were still under the wreckage" and others were out of reach, Nugroho said.

Donggala's waterfront and port was extensively damaged, with houses swept into the sea and bodies trapped in the rubble, according to a Metro TV reporter on the scene. Aerial video also showed the battered coastline surrounding Palu.

Palu's airport also suffered damages, its runway badly cracked from the quake. They did not appear to be concerned about their safety, despite ongoing aftershocks and the structure's questionable stability. In outlying areas, the fate of thousands is still unknown.

President Joko Widodo is scheduled to visit evacuation centres in Palu on Sunday.

Nugrogo tweeted photos of local hospitals that are overflowing with the injured.

One witness recounted to the AP how violently his hotel shook during the quake and that he didn't know what happened to his wife and daughter.

"At that time, the electricity went out, and there were only a few officers", Adhi said.

"I'm anxious about people who might have been washed away", she added. "I heard my wife cry for help, but then silence". "I hope I find them - I'm going to fight to find them".

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

Rescue teams were still guessing at the scale of destruction outside the Sulawesi capital Palu, especially in nearby Donggala, a city of 300,000, and other areas of the Indonesian island.

The 7.5 magnitude tremor later on was more powerful than a series of quakes that killed hundreds on the Indonesian island of Lombok in July and August.

After a 2004 tsunami killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries, more than half of them in the Indonesian province of Aceh, a concerted global effort was launched to improve tsunami warning capabilities, particularly in the Indian Ocean and for Indonesia, one of world's most natural disaster and tsunami-prone countries. A large bridge with yellow arches had collapsed. One man carried a dead child through the debris.

A sizeable quake off Sumatra island in 2016 that caused panic in the coastal city of Padang revealed that none of the buoys costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each were working. The water smashed into buildings and the damaged mosque.

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

Scores of residents shouted "we're hungry, we need food" as soldiers distributed rations from a truck in one neighborhood, while elsewhere television showed pictures of people making off with clothes and other items from a wrecked mall.

In contrast, temblors occurring where one tectonic plate is lodged beneath another - called subduction zones - can move large amounts of water vertically when the strain forces one plate to pop up or dive down. I haven't got any information on them until this moment. "I don't know what to do".

Rescuers carry an quake survivor at restaurant building.

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