USAR teams in Indonesia. Photo: Screen shot from ABD news clip
01 Oct 2018

Difficult rescue after earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia - death toll in the hundreds and rising


At least 1200 people have been killed after the earthquake with subsequent tsunami in Indonesia on Thursday. A tsunami warning had been issued but it was withdrawn after 34 minutes.

"Many bodies have been found at the shoreline, but the number is still unclear," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the government.

The Indonesia Disaster Authority announces on Thursday that at least 384 people were killed in Sulawesi after the earthquake that hit the Indonesian island yesterday. At least 540 are reported to be injured and 29 were missing.

Over the weekend, the death toll rose dramatically and is now at about 800 dead.

The earthquake measured 7.5 on the Richter scale and the waves were up to three meters high.

Hundreds of people who planned to attend a Palu beach festival, which had been launched on Friday night, had gathered on the beach and were overcome  by the tsunami.

When the tsunami warning came, people continued their activities on the beach instead of evacuating immediately, and many became victims of the tsunami because of this, says spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho on BNPB.

Disrupted communications

Authorities have had trouble organizing rescue efforts in the area because a power outage caused by the earthquake made communication difficult.

"We have not received complete reports yet, as communications are broken. Many bodies have been found on the shoreline after the tsunami, but the number is still unclear, says Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the authority.

Hospitals in the area have struggled to take care of the hundreds of injured who have been in need of care and it is difficult for the authorities to reach the affected area.