At least 384 dead in Indonesian tsunami: True scale of devastation starts to emerge after huge 10ft wave wipes out a beach festival -sweeping partygoers to their deaths and obliterating two towns

Saturday, September 29, 2018
By Paul Martin

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Almost 400 are dead and 540 injured after a 6.1 magnitude tremor hit the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday followed by a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake
Indonesia’s disaster agency’s Sutopo Purwo Nugroho withdrew an earlier warning to residents of a tsunami
But three hours later Indonesia’s geophysics agency said there had been one, and hundreds have now died
The cities of Palu and Donggala were struck by 10ft waves which demolished houses and swept away cars

By MIRANDA ALDERSLEY and GRETA LEVY
DAILYMAIL.COM
29 September 2018

At least 384 people are confirmed dead and 540 are injured after a tsunami, caused by two earthquakes in quick succession, ripped through the Pacific Ring of Fire and crashed into an Indonesian coast city on Friday.

Indonesian media, citing the national disaster agency, said Saturday that almost 400 people had died in Palu City alone, on the the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Fears are mounting for the the fishing town of Donggala, which was closer to the epicentre of the quake, but which rescuers have not been able to reach. The town of Mamuju was also severely affected but currently impossible to access due to damaged roads and disrupted telecommunications.

Meanhwhile criticisms have been levelled at the counry’s geophysics agency for lifting the tsunami warning 34 minutes after it was first issued, which may have led to confusion and exacerbated the death toll.

Many of those killed in Palu were swept away by giant waves more than 10ft high as they played on the beach in the scenic tourist town.

The number of casualties was no doubt increased by the fact that hundreds of people had descended on Palu’s beach for a festival to celebrate the city’s anniversary, due to start Friday night.

‘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.

Some people climbed trees to escape the tsunami and survived, Nugroho said.

The first earthquake was of 6.1 magnitude and hit Indonesia’s densely populated region on Friday morning, quickly followed by even fiercer 7.5 magnitude tremors which caused the terrifying waves.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency warned early on of reports showing that ‘victims died in the rubble of a collapsed building’.

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