Death toll from massive earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia jumps to 1,203 as rescuers battle to save scores of people screaming from within the rubble

Sunday, September 30, 2018
By Paul Martin

A 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Friday caused a massive tsunami to crash into Sulawesi island on Friday
The cities of Palu and Donggala were worse hit as beachgoers were swept away by the enormous waves
A government spokesman confirmed Sunday the death toll had risen to 1,203, doubling the last number
Access to several towns along the coastline has hampered relief efforts as transport networks are down
Criticism has been levelled at the government for initially lifting a tsunami warning after Friday’s quake

30 September 2018

The death toll from an earthquake and tsunami that devastated part of the island of Sulawesi has risen to 1,203 – with the total number expected to climb higher still.

The tsunami, which was triggered after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake, ripped through the Pacific Ring of Fire and crashed into the Palu at 500mph, causing widespread destruction into the evening on Friday.

Figures collected by the National Police Headquarters put the number killed at 1,203 people. The death toll is expected to climb even higher. Search and rescue team have struggled to reach cut-off communities feared wiped out by the disaster.

Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said access to Donggala, as well as the towns of Sigi and Boutong, is still limited and there are no comprehensive reports from those areas.

‘The death is believed to be still increasing since many bodies were still under the wreckage while many have not able to be reached,’ Nugroho said.

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.

Meanwhile criticisms have been levelled at the country’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.

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