Almost 50 people have been confirmed dead after a strong tsunami triggered by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit a coastal Indonesian city on Friday.
According to a disaster agency official, over 350 others were injured, in the earthquake following three shallow quakes of 6.0, 7.4 and 6.1-magnitude hit the central province and sparked the tsunami near Talisa beach of Dongala district.
Waves of up to 2m (6.6ft) high crashed through Palu on Sulawesi island. Video footage of the tsunami were extensively circulated in various social media platforms where people were running and screaming and had tried to save their lives from Tsunami.
Authorities said that the waves of the tsunami were about 10 feet high, but a cellphone video recorded in Palu showed a wave that seemed even higher crashing over the roofs of one-story buildings. The buildings then disappear underneath the water.
Last month also a series of fatal earthquakes struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, on 5 August, killing more than 460.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman of Indonesia’s disaster agency said news agency Reuters, “We have not received comprehensive reports yet because communications are cut. Many bodies were found along the shoreline because of the tsunami, but the numbers are still unknown.” He also said that the death toll may rise.
As mentioned by the spokesperson thousands of homes have been abolished, bridges have collapsed and the electricity is disconnected in most of Palu City in the Donggala region of Sulawesi.
He further informed medical officials decided to treat dozens of wounded residents just outside of a hospital as the local hospital was severely damaged.
Authorities are issuing statements urging residents to not go inside their homes and sleep on fields, roads or yards because of possible aftershocks of tsunami.
As reported by The New York Times Dr. Komang Adi Sujendra, the director of Undata Hospital in Palu, said via a video message uploaded online that the area had no electricity, that phone and internet service had been cut off and that road access has turned limited. He sought help from the public, saying that “we hope to build a field hospital immediately.”
Yenni Suryani, the Indonesia country manager for Catholic Relief Services, said, “Several mosques, a shopping mall, and many houses have collapsed. The impact is significant, and as soon as our local partners can reach affected areas and establish communication, we’ll know more about the extent of the destruction and people’s most urgent needs.”