PH sends condolences to Indonesia after natural disaster, tsunami

Hugh Fox
September 30, 2018

The tsunami that hit two cities in Sulawesi swept away buildings and pulverised a substantial bridge, dumping victims caught in its relentless path across a devastated landscape that rescuers were struggling to reach on Saturday.

President Buhari said the natural disaster, which claimed almost 400 lives, was devastating beyond description.

Tomi Soetjipto, a journalist based in Jakarta, said it was the natural disaster that caused most of the casualties.

"We tried to find shelter, but then I heard people shouting, 'Water! We don't even have time yet to report this incident to our superiors".

A tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.5 quake smashed into two cities and several settlements on Sulawesi island at dusk Friday.

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

More than 380 people have been confirmed dead after a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.5 quake hit an Indonesian city on Friday.

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There were also concerns over the whereabouts of hundreds of people preparing for a beach festival that had been due to start on Friday evening, the agency said.

Palu's main airport has sustained heavy damage to its runway and to its control centre.

Amateur footage shown by local TV stations, which could not immediately be authenticated by Reuters, showed waters crashing into houses along Palu's shoreline, scattering shipping containers and flooding into a mosque in the city.

Nugroho said the casualties and the damage could be greater along the coastline 300 km (190 miles) north of Palu, an area called Donggala, which is closer to the epicentre of the quake.

No South Africans have been reported missing in a powerful quake and tsunami that have hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi‚ the department of worldwide relations and cooperation (Dirco) says.

The cities of Palu and Donggala bore the brunt of the tsunami. The agency was widely criticised for withdrawing the warning too quickly, though officials said they estimated the waves had come within the time the warning was in force.

"We grieve with our Indonesian brothers and sisters and stand hand in hand with them in praying for all of those who lost their lives in this tragedy", Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in the same statement.

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Nearly 400 people are feared dead and hundreds more unaccounted for after a powerful quake shook the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Friday's tremor was also felt in the far south of the island in its largest city Makassar and on neighboring Kalimantan, Indonesia's portion of Borneo island.

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But Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, a geologist with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, said the Sulawesi event is more complicated.

The shallow, magnitude 7.5 natural disaster was more powerful than a series of quakes that killed hundreds on the Indonesian island of Lombok in July and last month.

Only last month, another series of quakes had hit several other islands, resulting in a substantial death toll.

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