[WATCH] Earthquake-triggered Tsunami kills scores of people in Indonesia

A shallow earthquake in the mountainous Central Sulawesi, followed by a series of foreshocks, resulted in a three-metre high Tsunami that swept away the lives of 400 people and the homes of thousands

Massive damage to infrastructure in Sulawesi following the 7.5-magnitude earthquake
Massive damage to infrastructure in Sulawesi following the 7.5-magnitude earthquake

After a 7.5-magnitude earthquake yesterday evening, a tsunami engulfed the coastal city of Palu in Indonesia, home to 350,000 people. 348 people have been confirmed dead, with many missing and 540 people being treated in local hospitals.

There are reports of severe destruction in Palu and nearby areas and since there are many who live in remote communities who are hard to reach, the death toll could rise significantly.

Palu airport has been closed and the drive to the nearest airport is between 10-12 hours. Jan Gelfand, head of the International Red Cross in Indonesia, said, “Sulawesi is one of the biggest islands in the world. We already have people en route but you never know what damage there is to the road infrastructure.”

Outside a destroyed hospital in Palu, injured patients are being treated outside
Outside a destroyed hospital in Palu, injured patients are being treated outside

Local hospitals were also damaged and the injured hundreds are being treated outside. Authorities are urging residents to leave home and sleep away from buildings since there are risks of aftershocks.

On a video posted on Twitter, Dr Komang Adi Sujendra, Director of Undata Hospital in Palu, appealed for public assistance. “Electricity is out all over Palu,” he said. “No phone network either. We need tents, medicine, canvas, nurses…”

The earthquake has come a month after a trio of earthquakes hit several islands in the Sotuh Pacific and Indonesia, which is still recovering from the effects of an August 5 earthquake that killed more than 450 people.

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