Powerful 7.5 magnitude natural disaster rocks Indonesian island

The huge tremor destroyed buildings and sent panicked residents fleeing into the streets

The huge tremor destroyed buildings and sent panicked residents fleeing into the streets

The town is only 80 kilometers from the earthquake's epicenter.

At least five people are confirmed dead after the quake, though it's unclear whether or not their deaths are tsunami related.

Pictures supplied by the agency showed a badly damaged shopping mall in Palu where at least one floor had collapsed onto the storey below, while other photographs showed major damage to buildings and large cracks across pavements. "A ship was washed ashore".

At least 557 people died and nearly 400,000 were displaced by four earthquakes with intensities varying between magnitude-6.3 and 6.9 which struck Lombok island between July 29 and August 19.

Following the quake, several strong aftershocks, including one of magnitude 6.7, hit.

He also said Palu's airport was closed due to damage from the quake.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) had issued but then quickly revoked a tsunami warning after the strong quake occurred at 5:02 p.m. Jakarta time, only a few hours after the first natural disaster.

The agency has been widely criticised for not informing a tsunami had hit Palu on Saturday, though officials said waves had come within the time the warning was issued.

He said communications with the area in central Sulawesi were down and the search-and-rescue effort was being hampered by darkness.

More than 600,000 people live in Donggala and Palu.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the tremor was felt for about 10 seconds in Donggala. "All national potential will be deployed, and tomorrow morning we will deploy Hercules [military transport planes] and helicopters to provide assistance in tsunami-affected areas".

In the footage, high waves are seen completely submerging houses in water and destroying buildings.

The area was hit earlier Friday by a magnitude 6.1 natural disaster that killed one person, injured 10 and damaged dozens of houses.

Patients evacuated from a hospital after the quake in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

"Telecommunication operators have been trying to use mobile backup power to reactivate the telecommunication network", Minister Rudiantara said in a press statement on Friday night.

A tsunami in 2004, triggered by an natural disaster off the island of Sumatra, killed more than 120,000 Indonesians and 226,000 people across the Indian Ocean.

The quakes come a month after a trio of earthquakes hit several islands in the South Pacific and Indonesia, including Lombok, which is still recovering from the effects of an August 5 natural disaster that killed more than 430 people.

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