Published: Sun, September 30, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

No South Africans reported missing in deadly Indonesian natural disaster

No South Africans reported missing in deadly Indonesian natural disaster

Waves of up to two metres (6.6ft) high swept through the city of Palu on Sulawesi island after the magnitude 7.5 quake brought down several buildings and sent people fleeing from their homes.

The powerful quake and tsunami that hit Indonesia's central Sulawesi has claimed dozens of victims, a disaster official said Saturday, as rescuers raced to reach the region and an AP reporter saw numerous bodies in a hard-hit city.

The Palu area was hit by a lighter quake earlier on Friday, which destroyed some houses, killed one person and injured at least 10 in the fishing town of Donggala, closest to the epicentre, authorities said.

Meanwhile, the toll from the tsunami is still unknown, but the preparations for a beach festival had been underway in Palu when the wave came.

A quake-tsunami has left "many dead" in Indonesia, the head of the country's search and rescue agency said Saturday.

Most people slept outdoors, fearing strong aftershocks.

A key access road had been badly damaged and was partially blocked by landslides, the disaster agency said.

The first in a series of tremors was felt Friday at 3 p.m. (4 a.m. ET) 35 miles north of Palu, according to the United States Geological Survey.

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The death toll of anearthquake and tsunami that hit two Indonesia cities has reached at least 384 as rescuers battle to reach victims in devastated areas.

The disaster caused power cuts, interrupting communications, significantly thwarting rescue efforts, Reuters reports.

"Our thoughts are with the people of Indonesia during this hard period".

Local residents say there is still no evacuation underway in Palu.

In 2004, a tsunami triggered by an quake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra killed 226,000 people across the Indian Ocean, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

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

Sutopo said that essential aircraft could land at the Palu airport, though AirNav, which oversees aircraft navigation, said the runway was cracked and the control tower damaged.

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. Last month, a powerful quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people. The video clip, shot on a smartphone and widely broadcast Saturday on Indonesian TV, showed water swallowing an entire row of buildings and gushing into streets and a damaged mosque as onlookers ran in terror.

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