Death toll climbing in tsunami-hit region of Indonesia

UPDATE at September 30 2018 10am | The death toll from a powerful tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Suawesi is rapidly rising, as news arrives from remote areas and rescue crews begin combing through the rubble and debris.

More than 400 people have been confirmed dead, with dozens and possibly hundreds of others missing.

It’s believed a large group of people may be trapped in the rubble of a hotel in the city of Palu, which copped the double-whammy of the initial 7.5 magnitude earthquake, followed by the three-metre wall of water late Friday.


Houses, hospitals, shopping malls and hotels were all in the path of the tsunami, and a bridge connecting the main highway to Palu was washed away.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is scheduled to visit evacuation centres in the city, and has ordered government agencies, the military and civilian workers to start helping with the rescue and recovery effort.

EARLIER at September 29 2018 2am | A POWERFUL tsunami has hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi following a strong magnitude 7.5 earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was shallow, striking at a depth of only 10km , and was centered about 56km northeast of the town of Donggala, in central Sulawesi. It hit at about 6pm local time.

Dramatic mobile phone footage circulating online shows powerful waves smashing into the provincial capital of Palu, 80km away shortly after a tsunami warning for the area had been lifted. See the videos below.

The vision shows people screaming and running in fear while a wall of seawater – reported to be at least two metres high – smashed into buildings along the coast.

The video (below) is believed to have been filmed from the top floor of a parking ramp along the waterfront in Palu.

Source: Google Maps

The city of Palu sits at the end of a long, narrow bay which is believed to have amplified the tsunami.

Dongala, situated at the bay’s entrance, is also believed to have been hit.

Source: Google Maps

Source: Fox Meteorologist Michael Seger/@MichaelSeger

In a live TV interview, Indonesian disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said homes had been swept away and families were missing.

The initial magnitude 7.5 earthquake is believed to have levelled many buildings in the area, which continues to be rocked by strong aftershocks.

It’s understood communications are down and the search and rescue effort is being hampered by darkness.

No further information was available at the time of writing.