At least 384 people have died in the severe earthquake and subsequent tsunami on the indonesian island of sulawesi, according to a spokesman for the disaster control authority. At least 29 people are still missing. In addition, there are more than 500 injured.
The island was shaken by two earthquakes on friday. The first quake had the strong 5.9, the second the strong 7.4. A meter-high tsunami wave then struck the western coast of sulawesi, one of indonesia’s largest islands. It is feared that the number of victims will still be significantly high .
So far, the figures only come from the coastal city of palu. But many other communities along sulawesi’s western coast are also affected. Communication and transport links are also damaged. Therefore, it may be days before the exact outcome of the disaster becomes clear.
In palu, a shopping mall and a mosque were also badly damaged. In addition, a 250-meter-long bridge collapsed. The airport of the city of 350,000 inhabitants is closed due to damage to the runway. Only helicopters allowed to land.
"I am deeply shocked by the news of the devastating tsunami that has claimed many victims and left behind widespread destruction on the island of sulawesi," german chancellor angela merkel wrote in a condolence telegram to indonesian president joko widodo. German president frank-walter steinmeier made a similar statement, pointing out that the full extent of the disaster is not yet known. Minister heiko maas announced: "once again hundreds of people have been killed by a tsunami, once again a natural disaster brings unimaginable suffering to an entire region."
On boxing day 2004, an earthquake off the coast of the indonesian island of sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed around 230,000 people in the eastern littoral states of the indian ocean.
The european union (eu) said it was standing by the indonesian people and authorities and had already offered aid. In addition, the copernicus disaster and crisis management service (EMS) had been activated. Among other things, location maps can be produced that show a detailed picture of the damage.
The center of the second earthquake was at a depth of about ten kilometers, about 80 kilometers north of palu. Indonesia – with more than 260 million inhabitants one of the most populous countries – lies on the pacific ring of fire, a geologically very active zone. The earth keeps shaking there.
More than 500 people were killed in several earth tremors on the island of lombok – the neighboring island of bali – which is popular with tourists. Volcanic eruptions are also not uncommon in indonesia.