Friday, 19 October, 2018

Sulawesi quake: Indonesia confirms multiple mass prison breaks in quake-tsunami zone

At Least 30 Killed by 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake, Tsunami in Indonesia Scores killed in Indonesia earthquake-tsunami
Gerardo Duncan | 01 October, 2018, 11:02

A rescuer inspects the damage of Roa-Roa Hotel following a massive quake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, on September 30, 2018. Hundreds of people gathered at the wrecked mall searching for loved ones. There was particular focus on the eight-story Roa-Roa Hotel, where voices from underneath the rubble could be heard calling out for help on Saturday.

Widodo also authorised for the country to accept worldwide help.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who visited the region over the weekend, said there are many challenges hampering rescue efforts.

It wasn't immediately clear what type of help was being authorised.

Writing on his official Twitter account Friday, Widodo said he was monitoring the situation and preparing for any post-earthquake eventualities.

Indonesia, home to 260 million people, is one of the world's most disaster-prone nations. At least 832 people lost their lives, the country's disaster agency said on Sunday, but the government fears that the actual death toll might be in the thousands.

Most of the confirmed deaths were in Palu itself and authorities were bracing for the toll to climb as connections with outlying areas are restored. "We don't have any other choice, we must get food", one man in Palu told AFP as he filled a basket with goods from a nearby store. Communication is still down, power is still out.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference Sunday that the death toll had more than doubled to 832, with almost all of those killed in Palu.

A video of the outskirts of Donggala shot on Sunday afternoon by the Indonesian Red Cross showed scenes of devastation, with houses flattened into piles of rubble and broken furniture.

"We need tents, medicine, canvas, nurses ..." A correspondent for a local newspaper said on his Facebook page that at least three other hotels with guests in it have also collapsed.

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

"The death is believed to be still increasing since many bodies were still under the wreckage while many have not able to be reached", Nugroho said.

Indonesian volunteers dug mass graves for more than 1,000 bodies on Monday after a quake and tsunami devastated swathes of Sulawesi, as authorities - struggling to deal with the sheer scale of the disaster - appealed for global help.

Vision showed a fast moving wall of water flooding into the city, carrying cars, trees and parts of buildings with it.

"I know there are many problems that need to be solved in a short time, including communications", he said, pledging to rebuild Palu.

TRT World's Philip Owira reports.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government had allocated 560bn rupiah ($37.58m) for disaster recovery, media reported.

However, it was a 7.5 magnitude quake that triggered a tsunami warning.

Questions are sure to be asked about why warning systems set up after the 2004 tsunami appear to have failed on Friday.

Indonesia's meteorological agency has been criticised for its response but officials said the waves struck while the warning was in place.

Palu was hit by tsunami in 1927 and 1968, according to BNPB. A disaster official said the tsunami travelled across the sea at speeds of 800 km/h.

Dramatic videos show rising waves smashing into buildings and people running away in fear.

The airport is operating 2,000 metres of runway - just enough for emergency, SAR, and humanitarian aid purposes.

The natural disaster that hit on Friday incapacitated Palu airport, the air traffic tower was severely damaged, and cracks disabled 250 metres of the runway.

The European Union announced 1.5 million euros (Dh6.4 million) in immediate aid.

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