News Alerts

03 Oct 2018 | 08:05 AM UTC

Indonesia: Palu airport opened 24 hours as earthquake death toll rises Oct. 3 /update 7

Indonesia News Alert

Officials raise the death toll from the Sulawesi earthquake to 1407 on October 3; military deployed to protect key infrastructure from looting; Palu airport opened 24 hours/day for relief flights

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/3/2018, 12:00 AM until 10/10/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Makassar). COUNTRY/REGION Palu (Central Sulawesi province), Donggala (Central Sulawesi province), Central Sulawesi, Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport (PLX)

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Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency announced on Wednesday, October 3, that 1407 people died from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Sulawesi on Friday, September 28. Reports of looting are emerging from the region as existing food and water supplies dwindle, prompting the military to deploy to protect key infrastructure. On Wednesday, Chief Air Marshal Hadi Tjahyanto stated military personnel would be guarding fuel depots, markets, and the airport to prevent looting and provide security. Aid convoys will also be escorted by armed soldiers.

Palu's Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport (PLW) is currently under control of the military and open 24 hours per day to allow for disaster relief flights, while commercial flights are able to use the airport from 06:00 to 22:00. Communication with Makassar Air Traffic Service Center has been restored and generator-powered runway lights and navigational equipment now allow for normal operations. Overland routes to rural areas remain severely affected due to landslides or collapsed bridges and limited supplies are reaching other parts of Central Sulawesi, including Donggala. Other infrastructure, including telecommunications, electricity, and water, also remain damaged.

A volcano on northern Sulawesi approximately 587 km (365 mi) from Palu erupted on Wednesday, though it is unlikely to affect earthquake recovery efforts. Scientists believe the volcanic eruption was not linked to the September 28 earthquake. Aftershocks continue to occur in the area, with a 4.8-magnitude quake striking 19 km (11.8 mi) south of Palu at 05:06 (local time) on Wednesday. Further aftershocks and associated damages in the coming days and weeks are likely.


A 7.5-magnitude earthquake occurred in Central Sulawesi province around 18:02 on Friday, September 28, approximately 81 km (50 mi) north of Palu at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi), causing a tsunami around 2 m (6 ft) high that struck the west coast of Sulawesi and Palu. 

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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