Security forces cracked down on looting in Sulawesi as relief efforts continued Thursday, October 4, for victims of the September 28 earthquake and tsunami. On Thursday, a national police spokesman announced the arrest of 92 people for looting and the military is reportedly ordering officers to open fire on looters, following a warning shot. Armed guards are escorting all convoys and military personnel are stationed at fuel depots, markets, and Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport (PLW) in Palu, with a reported 300 additional marines arriving on Thursday and over the weekend. In addition to looting, roadblocks and coerced donations have also been reported along primary roads near Palu.
At least 1424 people have died from the earthquake and tsunami, as of 14:00 (local time) on Thursday, and the UN estimates that 200,000 people are in need of urgent assistance. Electricity and telecommunication services were partially restored in Palu on Tuesday, October 2. Access to rural areas of Central Sulawesi, including Donggala regency, remains limited.
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, adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities, and not to cross a roadblock without permission. 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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