A collapsed building after an earthquake and tsunami hit Sulawesi, Indonesia, on September 28. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – About 70 foreigners were in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia when an earthquake and tsunami struck here and most have been safe, according to the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

Among them, three French nationals are missing while the others are accounted for, including 32 Thai, 21 Chinese, and 10 Vietnamese people, said BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho at a press briefing on September 30.

Nugroho said the death toll climbed to 832, including 821 people from the hard-hit city of Palu and 11 from Donggala. Some 540 injured are being treated at hospitals and more than 16,730 people were evacuated to 24 different locations for safety, he added.

The casualties will keep increasing, the official noted.

The local authorities are making every effort to recover electricity supply and improve communications.

Earlier, the BNPB and the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) said that satellite pictures with high resolution will be used to study and assess heaviest impact caused by the twin disaster.

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

No Vietnamese has been reported dead or missing, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It also confirmed that 10 Vietnamese students studying at Tadulako University in Palu city are safe. The students were advised to remain calm and closely follow guidance and notice of the local disaster prevention agency and keep in touch with the embassy’s staff.

It is the latest natural disaster to hit Indonesia, which is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

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

In December 2004, a massive 9.1-magnitude earthquake off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean countries, killing 220,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 168,000 in Indonesia. –VNA