Over 380 Dead After Earthquakes Cause Devastating Tsunami in Indonesia

A house sits damaged after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Donggala central Sulawesi Indonesia

A house sits damaged after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Donggala central Sulawesi Indonesia

A powerful 7.5 magnitude natural disaster struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi Friday evening just hours after a powerful, deadly foreshock, apparently triggered a tsunami that hit the coast minutes later.

The death toll of anearthquake and tsunami that hit two Indonesia cities has reached at least 384 as rescuers battle to reach victims in devastated areas.

Jan Gelfand, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Country Cluster Support office in Jakarta, said: "This was a terrifying double disaster - the powerful quake, and then a tsunami".

"Most people killed were due to the tsunami because most of dead bodies were found on Talise beach on Palu Bay", Sutopo said.

Donggala is a city of about 270,000 people, while the nearby city of Palu is home to about 330,000 people.

While numerous injured are being treated at local hospitals, according to CNN, at least one hospital has been structurally compromised, resulting in some of the injured being cared for in the street.

Rescuers have been digging by hand in the frantic search for survivors in the Indonesian city of Palu, which is reeling from an quake and tsunami.

Footage posted online showed waves of water bring down several buildings and swamp a large mosque in Palu.

Disaster agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a television interview there are "many victims".

His colleagues had evacuated the tower when they felt the trembling, but he stayed behind to ensure that an airplane safely took off, Air Nav Indonesia, the agency that oversees aircraft navigation, said in a statement.

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"Plate tectonics and the Ring of Fire are the main reasons why Indonesia has so many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions", CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said.

Dramatic video of the tsunami hitting Palu shows the high waves sweeping away several buildings and then the large tilted mosque in the town, about 80km from the quake's epicentre.

A tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.5 quake smashed into two cities and several settlements on Sulawesi island at dusk Friday.

The agency also said homes and a local hotel were flattened while a landmark city bridge was destroyed.

Already, a story of bravery has emerged from the tragedy.

"We have not received comprehensive reports yet because communications are cut".

Agung, who was working on the fourth floor of the ATC tower at Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu, had just cleared the lane for the departure of a Batik Air plane on Friday afternoon. But officials said they estimated the waves had hit while the warning was in force.

President Joko Widodo had mobilised the Indonesian military and police to assist in rescue operations in Palu and Donggala, and more troops are expected to arrive soon.

Earlier this year, a series of powerful quakes hit Lombok, killing more than 550 people on the holiday island and neighboring Sumbawa. "There is a ship washed ashore", Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency, told BBC.com.

Indonesia has been hit by a string of other deadly quakes including a devastating 9.1 magnitude tremor that struck off the coast of Sumatra in December 2004.

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