Major quake and tsunami cause deaths in Indonesian city

Indonesia earthquake: Hundreds dead in Palu quake and tsunami

Almost 400 people were killed and thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed Friday night after a catastrophic quake and tsunami struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Hospitals and rescuers are struggling to deal with the aftermath of a 7.5 magnitude quake that triggered an unexpected tsunami in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, killing at least 384 people.

"Those long hours on the road are going to mean hours lost getting assistance to people who need it in the next few days", she added.

An AP reporter saw bodies partially covered by tarpaulins and a man carrying a dead child through the wreckage.

He told a news conference Saturday that hospitals in the city are also treating several hundred injured and many victims still remain uncounted. The water smashed into buildings and a large mosque that collapsed under the force.

At least 30 people were killed after a 7.5 magnitute natural disaster followed by a massive tsunami hit the coastal city of Palu in Indonesia.

His colleagues had evacuated the tower when they felt the trembling, but he stayed behind to ensure that an airplane safely took off, Air Nav Indonesia, the agency that oversees aircraft navigation, said in a statement.

Sutopo said the military was deploying troops to Palu and Donggala and the national police were also mobilizing to help the emergency response, as well as personnel from the search-and-rescue and disaster agencies.

A spokesman for AirNav Indonesia, Yohannes Sirait, said Agung's decision cost him his life, but he may have saved hundreds of others.

The quake hit at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just before 6pm local time (12pm United Kingdom time) on Friday, the US Geological Survey said.

People stand in front of a damaged shopping mall after an earthquake hit the city of Palu on Indonesia's Sulawesi Island

The disaster mitigation agency has not been able to get any information from the fishing town of Donggala, closer to the epicenter of the quake 27 km (16 miles) away.

A 2004 tsunami triggered by an natural disaster off the Indonesian island of Sumatra killed 226,000 across the Indian Ocean, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Palu's airport closed because of the damage suffered from the natural disaster.

Currently, residents are without electricity or communications, amplifying the difficulties of thoroughly assessing the damage in Palu and the nearby city of Donggala.

The city's main hospital was damaged in the quake, and TV footage showed dozens of injured people being treated outside in makeshift medical tents. "We don't even have time yet to report this incident to our superiors".

Already, a story of bravery has emerged from the tragedy.

"This was a terrifying double disaster", said Jan Gelfand, a Jakarta-based official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Palu's airport has been closed, forcing rescue workers to make the trek into the damaged city by road. Last month, a powerful quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people.

"The thoughts of the people of South Africa are with the people of Indonesia during this hard period and the South African Government extends its sympathy to those families who have lost their loved ones‚" it said in a statement on Saturday.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country.

Indonesia has been hit by a string of other deadly quakes including a devastating 9.1 magnitude tremor that struck off the coast of Sumatra in December 2004.

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