TopStory - Indonesia tsunami toll reaches 405

Hugh Fox
October 2, 2018

Indonesia's disaster agency says a mass burial will be held in the city of Palu, which was slammed by an earthquake-spawned tsunami that killed at least 832 people.

Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said "many bodies" had been found along the shoreline of the Indonesian city of Palu on Sulawesi island which was hit by a major quake and a tsunami on Friday.

A young woman was pulled alive from the rubble of the Roa Roa Hotel, the news website Detik.com reported.

He said there could be 50 people trapped inside.

Earlier authorities had put the death toll at 384.

"The death toll is believed to be still increasing, since many bodies were still under the wreckage, while many have not been reached", said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Electricity and communications have been cut off and roads that are severely damaged or blocked by landslides are making it hard to assess the damage, Nugroho said. Communication is still down, power is still out.

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Three French nationals and a South Korean, who may have been staying at a flattened hotel, had not yet been accounted for, it added.

Soon after the plane took off, the tower trembled, and Mr Agung made a decision to jump off the fourth floor of the tower, thinking the building could collapse any time. - 75,000 people exposed to MMI VII "Very Strong" shaking (Moderate damage to vulnerable structures) Tsunami risk: The event happened very close to the coast: a moderate tsunami of the order of 1m can be produced along the coasts of Sulawesi, with the current parameters. He said another 11 people were killed in the regency of Donggala.

"This is extremely worrying", it said in a statement.

"The Indonesian Red Cross is racing to help survivors".

National search and rescue agency chief Muhammad Syaugi told Reuters rescuers were flying to Donggala by helicopter.

Pope Francis has led the faithful in prayer for the people of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi hit by a strong natural disaster and tsunami.

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

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Hundreds of people were preparing for a beach festival to celebrate Palu's anniversary. A disaster official said the tsunami travelled across the sea at speeds of 800 kph (500 mph) before striking the shore.

Amateur footage shown by local TV stations showed waves crashing into houses along Palu's shoreline, scattering shipping containers and flooding into a mosque in the city.

The city is built around a narrow bay that apparently magnified the force of the tsunami as the waves raced into the tight inlet.

Questions have been raised about what caused the tsunami, with speculation an underwater landslide was to blame. "Many bodies were found along the shoreline because of the tsunami, but the numbers are still unknown", he said.

Hundreds of people were injured and hospitals, damaged by the quake, were overwhelmed.

As Indonesia's President Joko Widodo heads to visit Palu on Sunday, the scale of the earthquake's destruction is still unclear. "On behalf of India, I, from this stage, express deep sympathies to the people and government of Indonesia".

"It is horrifying", he told ABC TV's Insiders programme on Sunday.

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C-130 military transport aircraft with relief supplies managed to land at the main airport in Palu, which re-opened to humanitarian flights and limited commercial flights, but only to pilots able to land by sight alone.

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