In the wake of a massive 7.5 earthquake and the tsunami that followed in Indonesia two days ago, the current death toll has risen to 832, with the expectation that it could be in thousands when a complete survey of the impacted area is finally complete. Palu city on Sulawesi Island saw a significant amount of property damage, as several building collapsed under the force of a 6m wave that struck the area following the earthquake. Even worse seems to be the case at Donggala, north of the city, which was close to the epicentre of the quake. Aftershocks of the earthquake had been felt up to 48 hours after the biggest of the tremors.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National disaster mitigation agency of Indonesia said that rescuers currently had access to only one of the four areas affected, indicating that at the present time it was difficult to estimate the extent of the damage and the number of lives lost, saying, “We haven’t received reports from the three other areas. Communication is still down, power is still out. We don’t know for sure what is the impact.” He added that 540 people were injured and receiving treatment in makeshift tents that were set up for this purpose, with an additional 16,000 people who had been displaced by the damage to property. The need for food and clean water reportedly turned desperate as cases of looting were reported, prompting Tjahjo Kumolo, Internal Affairs Minister, to request businesses to extend assistance where possible, with the promise of their being compensated for this assistance.