Tsunami strikes city af­ter quake

7.5 tem­blor roils Indonesia’s Palu with 2-me­ter-high wave

Global Times - Weekend - - WORLD -

A tsunami of up to two me­ters hit a small city on the In­done­sian is­land of Su­lawesi af­ter a ma­jor 7.5 quake struck off­shore on Fri­day, col­laps­ing build­ings and wash­ing a ves­sel ashore, but there was no word on ca­su­al­ties, of­fi­cials said.

Au­thor­i­ties re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that Palu had been hit, said Dwiko­rita Kar­nawati, who heads Indonesia’s me­te­o­rol­ogy and geo­physics agency BMKG amid a rapid se­ries of af­ter­shocks.

“The 1.5- to 2-me­ter tsunami has re­ceded,” Kar­nawati told jour­nal­ists.

“It ended. The sit­u­a­tion is chaotic, peo­ple are run­ning on the streets and build­ings col­lapsed. There is a ship washed ashore,” she added.

BMKG had ear­lier is­sued a tsunami warn­ing, but lifted it within the hour.

Ama­teur footage broad­cast by lo­cal TV sta­tions showed wa­ters crash­ing into houses along Palu’s shore­line.

The na­tional search and res­cue agency will de­ploy a large ship and he­li­copters to aid with the oper­a­tion, said the agency chief Muham­mad Syaugi, adding that he had not been able to con­tact his team in Palu.

Palu, hit by a 6.2-mag­ni­tude quake in 2005 which killed one per­son, is a tourist re­sort at the end of a nar­row bay fa­mous for its beaches and wa­ter sports.

In 2004, an earthquake off the north­ern In­done­sian is­land of Su­ma­tra trig­gered a tsunami across the In­dian Ocean, killing 226,000 peo­ple in 13 coun­tries, in­clud­ing more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Ear­lier on Fri­day, Indonesia’s Na­tional Disaster Mit­i­ga­tion Agency ( BNPB) said it was hav­ing dif­fi­culty reach­ing some au­thor­i­ties in Palu and the fish­ing town of Dong­gala, clos­est to the epi­cen­ter of the quake 80 kilo­me­ters away at a shal­low 10 kilo­me­ters un­der­ground. Palu air­port was closed. The area was hit by a lighter quake ear­lier in the day, which de­stroyed some houses, killing one per­son and in­jur­ing at least 10 in Dong­gala, au­thor­i­ties said.

Some peo­ple took to Twit­ter say­ing they could not con­tact loved ones. “My fam­ily in Palu is un­reach­able,” a Twit­ter user named @noyvionella said.

The US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey put the mag­ni­tude of the sec­ond quake at a strong 7.5, af­ter first say­ing it was 7.7.

More than 600,000 peo­ple live in Dong­gala and Palu.

“The [sec­ond] quake was felt very strongly, we ex­pect more dam­age and more vic­tims,” Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho, BNPB spokesman said.

The South­east Asian ar­chi­pel­ago na­tion lies on the Pa­cific “Ring of Fire,” where tec­tonic plates col­lide and many of the world’s vol­canic erup­tions and earth­quakes oc­cur.

This sum­mer, a se­ries of pow­er­ful quakes hit Lom­bok, killing over 550 peo­ple on the hol­i­day is­land and neigh­bor­ing Sum­bawa.

Some 1,500 peo­ple were in­jured and about 400,000 res­i­dents were dis­placed af­ter their homes were de­stroyed.

Photo: AFP

Med­i­cal per­son­nel pro­vide care to a pa­tient fol­low­ing an earthquake in Dong­gala, Cen­tral Su­lawesi, Indonesia.

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