Strong Quake Hits Along Indonesia's Western Sulawesi Island

Powerful earthquake rocks central Sulawesi in Indonesia, tsunami warning issued

Powerful earthquake rocks central Sulawesi in Indonesia, tsunami warning issued

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the tsunami hit Palu, the capital of central Sulawesi province, as well as the smaller city of Donggala and several other coastal settlements on Friday.

Indonesian disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says the magnitude 7.5 Sulawesi quake caused a tsunami that hit the provincial capital of Palu and another city, Donggala. He said many victims have not been accounted for.

Friday's tremor was centred 78 kilometres north of Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province, but was felt in the far south of the island in its largest city Makassar and on the neighbouring island of Kalimantan, Indonesia's portion of Borneo island.

Most of the folks in the affected areas remain outside their houses as aftershocks persist, Sutopo added.

Indonesia's meteorological and geophysics agency BMKG issued a tsunami warning after the quake but lifted it 34 minutes later.

The waters came sweeping in hours after a powerful natural disaster measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale rocked the region at around 6pm local time (4.30pm IST).

Dawn revealed a devastated coastline in central Sulawesi where the tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.5 natural disaster Friday smashed into two cities and several settlements.

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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.

An official with the Akris local disaster agency said that "many houses have collapsed". "People ran out in panic".

It follows an earlier quake that killed one person and left at least 10 injured.

Officials said aftershocks, the communications breakdown and the power outage made it hard to coordinate rescue efforts. Indonesia's deadliest ever tremor struck Sumatra island in 2014 and triggered a tsunami that killed almost 280,000 people in around a dozen countries along the Indian Ocean, with the biggest number of casualties registered in Indonesia.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the tremor was felt for about 10 seconds in Donggala.

"The intensity of the quake 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.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin that is prone to earthquakes.

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