On Friday afternoon Indonesia was struck by a tsunami that killed 832 people and injured at least 540, leaving 29 missing. 821 deaths occurred in Palu.
The tsunami, a 10 ft high wave, came after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, at a depth of 10 km, hitting the island of Suwalesi in the cities of Palu and Donggala at 6pm local time.
Three less intense quakes hit the cities earlier in the afternoon, starting from 3 pm local time, quakes starting from a magnitude of 4.9 to a 6.1 in central Suwalesi that killed several people and left at least 10 injured.
Numerous aftershock quakes hit the island with intensity up to 6.1 magnitude, and others are feared to hit, as citizens are warned to stay away from buildings as they may collapse.
Communications and electricity are still down in the island and it’s still not possible to establish the extent of the damages caused.
On Saturday, some amateur footage emerged, showing the massive wave hitting the island leaving dead bodies and crumbled buildings.
After the main hospital took damage, officials decided to treat the hundreds of wounded just outside, seeking help from the public (medicines, tends, nurses).
The Indonesian Meteorological Agency had earlier issued a tsunami warning, but then lifted it after the water receded.
A 21-year-old traffic controller died at the airport of Palu after jumping from a control tower, fearing the building may collapse.
Anthonius Gunawan Agung, stayed in the tower, after his colleagues evacuated to make sure a Batik airplane would take off safely, a selfless gesture that cost his life when he jumped off it, fearing a collapse.
Indonesia’s geographical location makes it extremely prone to earthquakes as it lays on the Ring of Fire, a region in the Pacific Basin full of volcanos and fault lines. More than half of the world’s active volcanos are part of the ring.
Just a month and half ago, on August 5th, an earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Lombok, killing more than 430 people.
The biggest tsunami ever recorded, in December 2004 hit the island of Sumatra in Western Indonesia, triggering a tsunami that caused 226,000 dead, 120,000 of them only in Indonesia.
There are 29 missing people at the moment and the death toll is expected to rise during the coming days.