A powerful earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia killed at least 832 people on the island of Sulawesi, the official has said. Jusuf Kalla, the vice-president, has warned it could reach into the thousands.
The death toll is increasing as rescue mission is underway forty eight hours after a tsunami that sent waves as high as six metres (20ft) following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the island.
Indonesia tsunami of Sept. 2018 has impected 2.4 million people, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Indonesian Disaster Management Agency spokesperson said in a recent statement.
Munculnya lumpur dari permukaan tanah yang menyebabkan amblasnya bangunan dan pohon di Kabupaten Sigi dekat perbatasan Palu akibat gempa 7,4 SR adalah fenomena likuifaksi (liquefaction) Likuifaksi adalah tanah berubah menjadi lumpur seperti cairan dan kehilangan kekuatan. pic.twitter.com/uxTODECMEX
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) September 29, 2018
Three French nationals as well as a Malaysian and a South Korean national are still missing, who were in Palu when earthquake jolted the city of 350,000 people. The US Embassy in Jakarta did not confirm the news of any American in the list of victims of missing.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho also told the media reporters that there were 71 persons, came from other countries, were shifted to Jakarta safe and sound.
The spokesperson also told that the tsunami and quake left at least 17,000 people homeless while hudreds were injured badly. Rescue mission is slow due to the lack of heavy machinary and personnel.
There are dozens of people who are still trapped in the collapsed ruins of the eight-storey Roa Roa hotel in Palu.
Muhammad Syaugi, head of the national search-and-rescue agency, told AFP news agency, “What we now desperately need is heavy machinery to clear the rubble. I have my staff on the ground, but it’s impossible just to rely on their strength alone to clear this.”
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo also visited the effected areas of Palu. “I am asking all of you to work day and night to complete every tasks related to the evacuation. Are you ready?” he asked the Indonesian army rescuers.
Mamuju and Donggala, the fishing towns, are feared to be destroyed heavily with 11 casualties so far recorded. “The Indonesian Red Cross is racing to help survivors but we don’t know what they’ll find there,” Jan Gelfand, head of the International Red Cross in Indonesia, said.
Anthonius Gunawan Agung: A Hero
Hundreds of families are already expressing the deep sorrow on the loss of their loved ones including the current and former mayor of Palu who are also among dead.
21-year-old Anthonius Gunawan Agung has been hailed ‘as a hero’. He jumped off the traffic control tower at the Palu airport when he thought the tower was collapsing. According to AirNav Indonesia, Agung stayed behind to make sure a passenger airplane safely took off.
Telah wafat saat menjalankan tugasnya sebagai personel layanan navigasi penerbangan, Saudara Anthonius Gunawan Agung, Air Traffic Controller (ATC) AirNav Indonesia Cabang Palu pada Sabtu (29/09).#RIPAgung #DoaUntukSulteng#PrayforDonggala #PrayforPalu pic.twitter.com/6Wpobp3R7m
— AirNav Indonesia (@AirNav_Official) September 29, 2018
Unfortunately, he lost his battle with injuries later.
Thousands of homes, shopping malls, hotels, and several mosques have been collapsed in one of the biggest islands in the world, Sulawesi.
More than 150 aftershocks hit the island on Friday. There was no electricity in Palu and Donggala, while drinking water and fuel were running out, Sutopo confirmed.