Indonesia's National Board for Disaster Management spokesman announced on Saturday, September 29, that at least 48 people have died from a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Sulawesi and the subsequent tsunami at 18:02 (local time) on Friday, September 28. Four hospitals in Central Sulawesi have reported the deaths along with more than 350 other injuries. The death toll is likely to climb as relief efforts continue and authorities are able to access more remote and harder hit areas.
Additionally, the Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport (PLW) in Palu remains closed until at least 19:20 on Saturday, though authorities reported that the runway was cracked, and the control tower was damaged. Land routes are also disrupted, with landslides cutting off the main route from Palu to Dongala and from Palu to Poso regency. Electricity and telecommunications outages remain for 600,000 customers in the region. Further aftershocks and damages are possible in the coming hours and days.
Following several smaller earthquakes, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Central Sulawesi at 17:02 on Friday at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi), causing a tsunami more than 2 m (6.5 ft) high to hit the western coast near Palu and Donngala. A total of 27 earthquakes have struck Central Sulawesi since 15:00 on Friday, including seven tremors above a 5.5-magnitude. As of 13:00, four earthquakes have struck the region on Saturday, most recently a 4.9-magnitude quake at 10:32. Further aftershocks are possible in the coming hours and days.
Indonesia lies within the active seismic zone known as "the Pacific Ring of Fire."
Individuals present in the impacted region are advised to monitor the situation, be prepared for further aftershocks, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities. Individuals elsewhere in Indonesia are advised to defer all travel to the affected areas until further notice.
During an earthquake, individuals are advised to protect themselves as much as possible from falling debris if indoors (e.g. under a table), to move away from windows and exterior walls, and do not attempt to leave the building unless there is an immediate danger. If outdoors, move away from any tall structures, such as buildings, utility wires, and streetlights.
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