Many casualties are feared in Central Sulawesi province after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Palu and Donggala on Friday, September 28. While the precise number of casualties resulting from the tsunami was not immediately reported, Indonesian officials claimed that the preceding 7.5-magnitude earthquake and other smaller tremors left at least one person dead and ten others injured. Officials later reported that the earthquakes and tsunami caused "several casualties" and that authorities are still measuring the damages in affected areas.
Evacuations had begun from these areas as of Friday night (local time). Power and telecommunications outages have affected some 600,000 people in the region and Mutiara Sis Al-Jufri Airport (PLW), serving Palu, will be closed until at least 19:20 (local time) on Saturday, September 29. The number of reported casualties is expected to rise in the coming hours and days. Continuing power outages, telecommunications disruptions, and transportation disruptions (e.g. due to damaged roads, etc.) are to be anticipated in the region over the near-term. Further aftershocks are possible in the area in the coming days.
A tsunami hit the island of Sulawesi on the evening of September 28, following a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck at 17:02 the same day, 78 km (48 mi) north of Palu City. Over 600,000 people live in Palu and Donggala.
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 heed 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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