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Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out

 
 

On September 28, a 7.5 earthquake in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, triggered a localized tsunami which crashed up the long, narrow bay at the mouth of the Palu river. Palu, a city of more than 330,000, suffered horrific damage as a wave estimated to have risen to 5 meters (16.4 feet) smashed into the city. Indonesian authorities estimate that more than 66,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged by the double disaster.

As of October 4, the death toll had risen to 1,424. Many have been buried in mass graves. Thousands have been injured and possibly hundreds of thousands displaced. Authorities are reportedly focusing rescue efforts on Palu, though other communities along the tsunami’s pathway have been devastated, as have those further up the mountainous terrain, which were hit hardest by the earthquakes and ensuing mudslides.

With authorities setting a tentative deadline of Friday for rescue efforts, hopes for finding more people alive are dwindling. Among the living, desperation is setting in, with food and water shortages sparking looting and subsequent threats from Indonesia military authorities that looters will be shot.

Further highlighting the region’s seismic and significant vulnerabilities, on October 3, Mount Soputan in northern Sulawesi erupted, sending an ominous smoke plume four kilometers into the sky.

Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
A lone tree stands in the debris from structures that were wiped out after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Life is on hold for thousands living in tents and shelters in the Indonesian city hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami, unsure when they'll be able to rebuild and spending hours each day often futilely trying to secure necessities such as fuel for generators.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Aaron Favila
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
In this Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018 photo, people survey the mosque damaged in a massive earthquake and a tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
In this Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018 photo, rescuers try to rescue 15-year old earthquake victim Nurul Istikharah from flood water in her damaged house following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Arimacs Wilander, File
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
Indonesian soldiers assist earthquake victims to receive medical treatment at a field hospital in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Chandra
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018 photo, a ship rests near houses after it was swept ashore during Friday's tsunami at a neighborhood in Donggala, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, file photo, heavy machinery is used to bury tsunami and earthquake victims during a mass burial in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Rifki, File
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
A woman cries as she uses the recovered mobile phone of her daughter who was killed in the massive earthquake at Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. The mother did not get the chance to see the body of her daughter after she was buried earlier in a mass grave.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Aaron Favila
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
Men scavenge for food inside an abandoned warehouse in an earthquake and tsunami-affected area in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia Indonesia, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. Clambering over the reeking pile of sodden food or staking out a patch of territory, people who had come from devastated neighborhoods and elsewhere in the remote Indonesian city pulled out small cartons of milk, soft drinks, rice, candy, and painkillers from the pile as they scavenge for anything edible in the warehouse that tsunami waves had pounded.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
A police officer stands guard at a fuel station following a major earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Rifki
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
A man climbs by a bridge that was destroyed in the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Aaron Favila
Indonesia Devastated by Tsunami, Time Running Out
Plumes of volcanic ash rise out of Mount Soputan, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, from the village of Tombatu, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. No evacuations were immediately ordered, though people were advised to avoid the area nearest the mountain and to beware of falling ash.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Yehezkiel Dondokambey
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