Indonesia earthquake and tsunami leaves scores of people dead

Indonesia At least 384 killed after earthquake tsunami hits Sulawesi island

Indonesia At least 384 killed after earthquake tsunami hits Sulawesi island

Dawn revealed a devastated coastline in central Sulawesi where the 3-metre high tsunami triggered by the magnitude 7.5 quake on Friday smashed into two cities and several settlements.

A notification letter from Air Nav Indonesia announced on Friday evening that the closure would be effective from 7:26 p.m. local time on Friday until 7:20 p.m. on Saturday.

Photographs from Palu, home to around 350,000 people on the coast of Sulawesi island, showed partially covered bodies on the ground near the shore, the morning after tsunami waves 1.5 metres (five feet) high slammed into the city.

The province experience two major earthquakes on Friday with several aftershocks.

A 6.1 magnitude foreshock struck earlier in the day, killing at least one person.

The region was rocked by a magnitude 7.5 quake and numerous strong aftershocks, including one of magnitude 6.7.

The ruin of a mosque badly damaged by quake and tsunami is seen in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

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 tsunami warning was issued, but lifted within the hour. "For now, the majority of 380,000 people there are staying outside their buildings", he added.

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The national disaster agency put the official death toll -- based on reports from medical facilities in the tsunami-struck city of Palu -- at 48, but warned the toll was likely to rise.

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

Indonesia correspondent David Lipson said patients were being treated on beds and blankets outside in hospital courtyards because it was too risky inside.

Earlier Friday, a 6.1 magnitude quake killed one person, injured several others and damaged dozens of homes, according to the AP.

It lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and numerous world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

Mirza Arisam, a resident of Kendari, the capital of neighbouring 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.

Dramatic video footage filmed from the top floor of a parking ramp in Palu, almost 80 kilometres from the quake's epicentre, showed waves of water bring down several buildings and inundate a large mosque.

An official with the local disaster agency, Akris, said "many houses have collapsed".

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