Updated: 10/11/2018 2:08:31 AM
The official death toll from a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on Sept. 28 has risen to 2,045, with more bodies being found as some 10,000 rescuers scour ruins in the seaside city of Palu.
The official search for casualties of a devastating earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi began winding down on Thursday, as authorities prioritize support for the living nearly two weeks after the disaster.
Authorities said this week there is little chance of finding anyone alive, and any bodies unearthed will likely be decayed beyond identification. Public health is also a concern, as bodies entombed under mud and debris could carry disease.
Updated: 10/8/2018 2:18:38 AM
The official death toll stands at 1,944 but officials believe that when casualties from two of the hardest-hit areas of Palu – Balaroa and Petobo – are determined, that number could almost triple.
Those searching the ruins of the villages fear that thousands may have been swallowed up by the ground when the earthquake caused liquefaction, causing the solid surface of the ground to turn to liquid, engulfing homes in the mud.
“Based on reports from the heads of Balaroa and Petobo, there are about 5,000 people who have not been found,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster agency.
“Nevertheless, officials there are still trying to confirm this and are gathering data. It is not easy to obtain the exact number of those trapped by landslides, or liquefaction, or mud.”
Hopes of finding survivors ten days after the double disaster struck the Indonesian island have all but faded, but Thursday will be the official deadline for recovering bodies. After that people will be deemed missing, presumed dead.
Updated: 10/5/2018 2:34:18 AM
According to the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management on today, Friday, the death toll from the quake and tsunami has risen to 1,571.
The disaster agency said thousands were injured and hundreds of thousands - displaced from their homes and in need of emergency assistance.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Indonesia's disaster management agency spokesman, said about 1,000 may be buried in areas liquefied by the earthquake in Palu city's Balaroa and Petobo. The areas were swallowed by three-metre deep mud.
In the Palu neighbourhood of Balaroa, about 1,700 houses were buried when the earthquake caused soil to liquefy, the national rescue agency said.
So far in Petobo, only 26 survivors have been found and 48 in Balaroa. "We will continue searching," Sutopo said.
Rescue efforts since the September 28 quake have been greatly impeded by a shortage of heavy equipment.
Authorities previously set a tentative deadline of Friday for finding anyone trapped under ruined buildings, although chances of pulling survivors alive from the rubble at such a late stage are almost zero.
Updated: 10/4/2018 1:41:22 AM
It’s like that movie, 2012: doomsday,” says 24-year-old Joshua Michael living in Petobo, village on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, home of eleven thousand people, buried in the mud that swept over it after Friday’s earthquake.
The search and rescue team in Petobo had pulled out 19 dead from the village as of Wednesday morning, but the death toll is expected to soar. Teams are only 400 metres in. “It could be hundreds. Or it could be thousands. We don’t know yet,” said search and rescue worker Chandra.
“There were about 11,000 people in Petobo and I think maybe half are gone,” reckons Sudiryo Djalano, a political campaigner, who collected population data on the village during a recent political drive. “I mean Petobo just sank into the earth, and it was a densely populated village,” he says.
Muhammad Mansur, a national park officer and Petobo resident guesses it could reach 2,000. “Some houses were moved about a kilometre away,” he says in disbelief.
Updated: 10/3/2018 3:54:50 AM
The official death toll from the west coast of Sulawesi island last Friday rose to 1,407, many killed by tsunami waves it triggered.
But officials fear the toll could soar, as most of the confirmed dead have come from Palu, a small city 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Jakarta, and losses in remote areas remain unknown, as communications are down, and bridges and roads have been destroyed or blocked by landslides.
National disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said most of the aid effort had been concentrated in Palu, where electricity supply has yet to be restored. But rescue workers have begun to reach more remote areas in a disaster zone that encompasses 1.4 million people.
Updated: 10/3/2018 1:13:47 AM
The death toll rose to almost 1,400 on Wednesday with hundreds of people unaccounted for.
“The death toll is now 1,374 and 113 missing,” said Willem Rampangilei, head of Indonesia’s national disaster agency. “And there are still bodies trapped under the rubble. We don’t know how many. Our priority is still to find and save people.”
To add to the woes of Sulawesi island, on Wednesday morning the Soputan Volcano in northern Sulawesi erupted, spewing volcanic ash up to 4,000 metres into the air.
No casualties have been reported and authorities rushed to point out that footage going viral online, showing rivers of red lava consuming houses purported to be from the Soputan crater, was a hoax.
Rescue teams focused their efforts on destroyed buildings in Palu city, such as the Roa Roa hotel, where 30 people were still thought to be buried.
Tensions continued to mount in Palu on Wednesday at the lack of clean water and food supplies, with desperate residents ransacking shops for supplies. Police said they had begun making arrests of those caught stealing.
Updated: 10/2/2018 3:17:31 AM
After a 90-minute trek through mud, rescuers recovered 34 bodies from a Bible camp in mountainous Sigi Biromaru district, killed when a landslide hit a church.
Indonesian authorities are scrambling to find survivors and provide shelter, food and water to those who have lost everything.
Meanwhile, four more earthquakes between 5.0 and 6.0 magnitude hit Indonesia late on Monday night, said the US Geological Survey.
The tremors were recorded near Sumba island - hundreds of miles south of Sulawesi, where Friday's quake struck.
There are no details so far on any damage or casualties.
Mass burials have begun on Sulawesi for the victims recovered so far - nearly all of them found in the city of Palu.
But there are fears many more are buried in mud and trapped under buildings in remote areas that have not yet been accessed.
Blocked roads, damaged bridges and a lack of heavy machinery have held back the rescue effort.
According to UN estimates, around 191,000 people are now in urgent need of help after the quake and tsunami wave - which measured up to 6m (20ft).
Survivors say that supplies are not getting through and that they have been forced to loot from shops.
Updated: 10/2/2018 1:13:55 AM
Anger and desperation are growing in parts of Sulawesi as residents faced a fourth day without food and drinking water after the Indonesian island was devastated by an earthquake and a tsunami.
On Tuesday the official death toll from the disaster rose to 1,234, according to disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. It is still expected to climb steeply in the coming days.
Signs propped along roads in Sulawesi read “We Need Food” and “We Need Support”, while children begged for cash in the streets. Queues for fuel, which has almost run out in the area, were miles long and the national police and troops were deployed to guard petrol stations and food shops.
Updated: 9/30/2018 2:53:08 AM
A earthquake hit the island of Sulawesi on Friday morning causing a tsunami and around 170 aftershocks. It is the most devastating earthquake to hit Indonesia since 2004. The area devastated by the disaster is bigger than originally thought. The tsunami wave was as high as six metres in some places, according to Guardian.
The death toll is currently at 832 and expected to rise sharply. 821 of the deaths occurred in the city of Palu.
The affected area is bigger than originally thought. Only 11 deaths have been reported so far from Donggala, the worst hit area, so casualties are expected to rise sharply when rescue teams gain access.
Indonesia’s vice-president, Jusuf Kalla, has warned the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami that struck the island of Sulawesi could rise into the thousands, as more than 150 aftershocks hit the region.
At least 540 people had been badly injured, the agency said, as hospitals struggled to cope with the influx of casualties, setting up open-air clinics to treat the injured.
In Palu, partially covered bodies lay near the shore and survivors sifted through a tangled mess of corrugated steel roofing, timber, rubble and flotsam. One man was seen carrying the muddy corpse of a small child.
“Many corpses are scattered on the beach and floating on the surface of the sea,” one local resident told to kompas.com.
Updated: 9/29/2018 3:40:00 AM
Rescue workers are hunting for survivors after a powerful earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and triggered a tsunami, killing at least 384 people, said CNN.
After the 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Friday, water smashed into buildings and swept away homes in the coastal city of Palu city, home to 350,000 people.
More than 540 people are being treated in several local hospitals amid the massive destruction in Palu and 29 people are missing.
The death toll could climb in the coming days, Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho warned.
Updated: 9/29/2018 1:34:56 AM
Latest informations said tsunami have killed at least 384 people in the city of Palu on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, rescue officials have said. Hundreds more have been injured and thousands of homes destroyed.
Communications and electricity are still down, and the full extent of the damage remains unclear. The death toll is widely expected to rise.
Images emerged on Saturday morning showing that some areas have been almost entirely flattened, with roads split and buildings collapsed, including hospitals and a shopping mall. A large bridge in Donggala was totally destroyed by the wave, while the airport in Palu sustained damage to the runaway and a terminal tower.
Unconfirmed photos show dozens of corpses lined up and covered in cloth by the shoreline covered by debris. TV images showed dozens of injured people being treated in makeshift medical tents set up outdoors in public places.
Early witness reports said the tsunami had claimed lives on Talise beach in Palu, a city that is home to about 350,000 people. “Many corpses are scattered on the beach and floating on the surface of the sea,” Nining, a resident, told Kompas.com. Nining said she had identified victims amongst the debris of the coastal area, which has reportedly sustained severe damage.
Updated: 9/29/2018 1:11:34 AM
Official sources mention tsunami waves up to 3 meters but there are reports speaking of a tsunami as high as 6 m.
Authorities are still assessing the damage and counting casualties. As of 22:00 UTC, September 28, at least 7 people have been killed.
By 06:00 UTC on September 29, the number rose to at least 48 and authorities warned the death toll may substantially rise in the coming days.
Electricity and communications in tsunami-affected areas have been cut off, making it difficult to assess the damage.
Residents are urged not to go inside their homes and sleep away from buildings.
Updated: 9/28/2018 6:53:13 AM
The Reuters news agency reported that Indonesian officials lifted the tsunami warning after about an hour, but disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a TV news interview that people should "remain in safe areas," and avoid damaged buildings.
It's believed the tsunami wave struck after the alert was canceled. Hary Tirto Djatmiko, a spokesman for the agency, confirmed to the Associated Press that a tsunami occurred and more information would be released once it was gathered.
Indonesian TV showed a smartphone video of a powerful wave hitting the provincial capital, Palu, with people screaming and running in fear.
"Many houses have collapsed," Akris, a local disaster agency official, told the Associated Press. "It happened while we still have difficulties in collecting data from nine villages affected by the first quake... People ran out in panic."
Published Friday, September 28, 2018
A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook Indonesia on Friday, hours after several tremblors struck the country, officials said.
There were at least 10 foreshocks and aftershocks recorded at magnitude 5 or stronger on Friday.
The most intense quake struck the central Sulawesi region at around 6 p.m. and was centered at a depth of 6 miles about 35 miles northeast of Donggala, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake briefly triggered a tsunami warning that was later lifted.
It wasn’t immediately clear if there were any deaths as a result of the quake, but an official with Akris – the local disaster agency – told the Associated Press, “many houses have collapsed.”
“It happened while we still have difficulties in collecting data from nine villages affected by the first quake,” the official said. “People ran out in panic.”
Sutopo Purow Nugroho, a National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman, said communications with the earthquake-stricken region were disrupted.
“Our early estimation, based on experience, is that it caused widespread damage, beginning from Palu northward to Donggala,” he told MetroTV.
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Affected Area: 126 km.
Alert Level: Orange
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