PALU: The Indonesian island of Sulawesi was slammed by a tsunami set off by a powerful earthquake. Indonesian disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Friday the magnitude 7.5-magnitude earthquake caused the tsunami that hit the provincial capital of Palu and a smaller city of Donggala.
A tsunami of up to two meters hit the Palu region after the quake, but according to local authorities, the waters have receded. No details of possible casualties have been released.
Indonesian disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the earthquake also caused a tsunami to hit another city, Donggala.
Jadi tadi setelah #gempadonggala yang beritanya sudah banyak beredar itu temen saya masih bisa kontak adiknya. Tapi setelah itu dia dapat video ini, dan ga bisa hubungin keluarga dan teman-temannya. Mungkin sinyal mati semua. Jadi kalau ada info kabarin ya.
“There are reports that many buildings collapsed in the earthquake,” Sutopo said in a statement.
He said communications with the area in central Sulawesi were down and the search-and-rescue effort was being hampered by darkness.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.
Sutopo said in a live TV interview that houses were swept away and families are reported missing.
The city with a population of 350,000 was about 80km from the quake’s epicentre. The US Geological Survey said the shallow quake was centered at a depth of 10km.
Dramatic video footage filmed from the top floor of a parking ramp spiral in Palu showed a churning wall of whitewater mow down several buildings and inundate a large mosque.
Pictures supplied by the disaster agency showed a badly damaged shopping mall in Palu where at least one floor had collapsed onto the storey below.
Other pictures showed major damage to buildings with rubble strewn about the road and large cracks running through the pavement.
A series of earthquakes in July and August killed nearly 500 people on the holiday island of Lombok, hundreds of kilometres southwest of Sulawesi.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin and is prone to earthquakes.
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.