For the first time since the September 28 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami, Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport (PLX) in Palu reopened to limited commercial flights on Sunday, September 30, following a partial reopening the previous day for emergency flights. The airport will accept 20 flights per day, approximately half the usual number. All airplanes landing at the airport are required to operate by Visual Flight Rules (VFR) due to damage inflicted to the air traffic control tower.
A spokesman for Indonesia's disaster relief agency announced that 832 people had died in the earthquake and tsunami, with 821 of those deaths from Palu. Only 11 deaths were reported from Donggala regency, suggesting that the death toll will rise sharply as authorities gain access. The spokesman also confirmed that the tsunami reached as high as 6 m (20 ft) in some places. At least 29 people remain missing, including five foreign nationals. President Joko "Jikowi" Widodo declared a state of emergency on Saturday, September 29, and announced the deployment of a hospital ship and military resources.
Overland travel remains difficult due to landslides and damage to bridges and authorities have not been able to reach large areas of Central Sulawesi province. Aftershocks as large as 5.1-magnitude continued overnight and into the morning (local time) of September 30. Further quakes and associated damage are possible in the coming days.
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. A total of 29 earthquakes have struck the area since Friday morning.
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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