Death toll jumps to 384 after tsunami, quake in Indonesia

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Death toll jumps to 384 after tsunami, quake in Indonesia

Residents carry the body of a victim following an earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia September 29, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto










Antara Foto/Zainuddin Mn | Reuters

Residents carry the body of a victim following an earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia September 29, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto

The death toll from an earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi rose to 832 on Sunday, the national disaster mitigation agency said, adding it assessed the affected area to be bigger than initially thought.

Many people were reported trapped in the rubble of buildings brought down in the 7.5 magnitude earthquake which struck on Friday and triggered tsunami waves as high as six metres (20 feet), agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference.

The death toll was reported to be 384 on Saturday, with many of those killed swept away by giant waves as they played on the beach.

Strong aftershocks continued to rock the coastal city on Saturday morning after waves up to six meters (18 feet) high swept through the scenic tourist town on Friday, triggered by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on land.

“When the (tsunami) threat arose yesterday, people were still doing their activities on the beach and did not immediately run and they became victims,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency BNPB said in news briefing in Jakarta.

Hundreds of people were preparing for a beach festival to celebrate Palu’s anniversary. The festival was due to start Friday night.

Some people climbed six meter (18 feet) trees to escape the tsunami and survived, Nugroho said.

Photos confirmed by authorities showed bodies being lined up along the street on Saturday, some in bags and some with their faces covered with clothes.

Amateur footage shown by local TV stations, which could not immediately be authenticated by Reuters, showed waters crashing into houses along Palu’s shoreline, scattering shipping containers and flooding into a mosque in the city.

Nugroho described the damage as “extensive” with thousands of houses, hospitals, shopping malls and hotels collapsed, a bridge washed away and the main highway to Palu cut due to a landslide.

Bodies of some victims were found trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, he said, adding 540 people were injured.

Dozens of injured people were being treated in makeshift medical tents set up outdoors, TV images showed.

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