Upto 30 people were killed after a major earthquake and a tsunami hit Indonesia’s Palu city Friday, a hospital official told Metro TV in a report broadcast on Saturday, Reuters reported. Soon after the earthquake, aftershocks continued to shake the coastal city in the morning.
Six feet high waves triggered by the earthquake hit the city soon after. The quake and the tsunami caused power outages and a cut in communications in the city.
The U.S. Geological Survey has placed the magnitude of the earthquake at 7.5.
“Bodies of victims were found in several places, because they were hit by the rubble of collapsing buildings or swept away by the tsunami … but we are still collecting data,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman said on Saturday as quoted by Reuters.
Reuters quoted Doctor Komang Adi Sujendra informing Metro TV that 30 people were killed and their bodies taken to his hospital, adding another 12 injured who needed orthopedic surgery.
Local TV stations reported by Reuters showed makeshift medical tents treating scores of injured victims. Chief security minister Wiranto told TVOne the military had started sending in cargo planes from the capital Jakarta carrying relief aid.
The airport has been closed after the runaway and air traffic control was damaged in the earthquake. However, Reuters quoted officials saying they were preparing to reopen to allow aid to come in. “We hope the airport can be reopened soon for flights carrying disaster relief and aid,” said Yohannes Sirait of AirNav, the air traffic management agency.
A resident of Palu city informed the TV station some of the city landmarks were badly damaged. “There is no evacuation yet in the disaster area,” Kodongan stated.
Indonesia is known to be regularly a victim of earthquakes, being in the center of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Earlier, in August, major earthquakes led to upto 500 people being killed in Lombok and destruction of several villages along the northern coast.