An estimated 400 people are feared to have dead in the tsunami and quake that struck the city of Palu, Sulawesi Island of Indonesia. The hospitals in the city are struggling hard to accommodate all the injured people who are being brought in large numbers. As per the National Disaster Agency, the death toll has been put at 384, nevertheless, it warned that the death toll might as well increase. Palu has a population of around 3.5 lakh. The news agency, AFP reported that partially covered bodies were strewn on the ground near the shore the day after tsunami waves 1.5 metres or fife feet high came ashore.
Also, there is anxiety about the whereabouts of hundreds of people preparing for beach festival due to the start of Friday evening. When the hospitals were overcrowded, many patients were seen treated in the open air, even as the other survivors helped to fish out the remains of those killed in the disaster. The tsunami was triggered by a strong earthquake that saw buildings crashing and sent locals fleeing for higher ground as a churning wall of water crashed into Palu, where were a total blackout. The shallow 7.5 magnitude tremor was more powerful than a series of earthquakes that killed hundreds on the Indonesian island of Lombok in July and August this year, the report said. In fact, the quake hit just off central Sulawesi at a depth of ten kilometres just before 1100 GMT early evening in Sulawesi, the US Geological Survey was quoted as saying. The main airport in Palu, capital of South Sulawesi province was closed after the tsunami, further complicating any disaster relief efforts. Yesterday’s tremor also felt in the far south of the island in its largest city Makassar and on the neighbouring Kalimantan, Indonesia’s portion of Borneo Island, noted the report.
Indonesia remains one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, which is lying on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, where tectonic plates collide and many of the world’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur, the report pointed out. A powerful earthquake that struck earlier this year in Lombok killed in excess of 550 people on the holiday island and neighbouring Sumbawa. Indonesia has been hit by a string of other deadly quakes including a devastating 9.1 magnitude tremor that struck off the coast of Sumatra in December 2004.
That Boxing Day quake triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including 168,000 in Indonesia.
In 2010, about 430 were killed when a huge quake sparked a tsunami off the coast of Sumatra, while more than 600 were killed in a quake-tsunami disaster on Java island, added the report.