Palu city in central Sulawesi after being ravaged by the tsunami (Photo: AFP/VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – The death toll from earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia has amounted to 384 and hundreds of injured people remained in hospitals, said the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) on September 29.

Most of the victims are in the central Sulawesi city of Palu, the hardest hit by the tsunami.

According to Reuters, strong aftershocks continued to rock the coastal city on September 29 morning after waves up to three metres high swept through the scenic tourist town.

Hundreds of people were preparing for a beach festival to celebrate Palu's anniversary on September 28 so the death toll would continue to rise.

Spokesman of the BNPB Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the tsunami destroyed thousands of houses and residential areas, hospitals, malls, hotels and bridges.

The number of victims in Donggala town, including coastal areas near Talisa beach, has been unaccounted as BNPB has yet to receive any information from the town, which is 27km away from the quake’s epicentre.

Rescuers, police, soldiers and volunteers have worked to evacuate people. Meanwhile, power shortage occurred in many areas, hindering search and rescue.

After the quakes shook Palu and Donggata, thousands of people had to leave their houses to take shelters in higher places on September 28 night.

The Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) has set up temporary shelters while local people are waiting for aid, especially food and medicine.

Airplanes carrying necessities were mobilised to support victims. However, the Mutiara Sis Al Jufri airport in Palu was closed and its air traffic control centre was damaged during the disaster, which could pose difficulties in aid and rescue in the coming time. Road traffic in east and south areas to Palu were also interrupted.

Medical teams from the Indonesian government are on their way to Palu and Donggala of Central Sulawesi while local hospitals are overloaded.

The same day, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his sympathies for the human and property losses caused by the earthquakes and tsunami and the UN Secretary-General’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said UN officials are ready to provide support as required.

Suwelasi was ravaged by two quakes of 6.1 magnitude and 7.5 magnitude on September 28. A tsunami happened after the second quake hit the area in the afternoon of the same day.

A series of earthquakes in July and August killed nearly 500 people on the holiday island of Lombok, hundreds of kilometres southwest of Sulawesi.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes. In 2004, a big earthquake off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing 220,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 168,000 in Indonesia.-VNA