International desk – Nearly 400 people have been killed after an earthquake triggered tsunami hit an Indonesian city, rescuers said on Saturday.
According to US geological Survey, the earthquake 7.5 magnitude quake hit just off central Sulawesi at a depth of 10 kilometers just before 6 pm on Friday triggered waves up to three meters high sweeping Palu on the island.
BBC reported that video on social media shows people screaming and fleeing in panic and a mosque among the buildings damaged.
Strong aftershocks continue to rock the city. Thousands of homes have collapsed, along with hospitals, hotels and a shopping centre.
Rescue efforts are under way, though hampered by a major power cut. The main road to Palu has been blocked due to a landslide, and a key bridge is out of action.
The broadcaster reported that Indonesia’s disaster agency said at least 384 people had been killed.
The number is expected to rise as nearly 550 have been injured, and 29 are listed as missing.
Many bodies were found along the shoreline because of the tsunami, but the numbers are still unknown,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the agency, said
People were still doing their activities on the beach and did not immediately run when the wave came and they became victims, he told reporters adding that some survived by climbing trees.
A less powerful quake earlier on Friday had killed at least one person and injured at least 10 in the smaller fishing town of Donggala.
In Palu, hundreds of people had been preparing for a beach festival that was due to start on Friday night.
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.
Palu and Donggala are home to more than 600,000 people. President Joko Widodo said on Saturday that troops were en route to the area to reinforce rescue teams and help retrieve bodies.
The main airport in Palu has been closed since the tsunami hit. A minister said the runway had been damaged but that it was hoped helicopters would still be able to land.
The country’s military is sending cargo planes of relief aid from the capital, Jakarta, according to BBC.