A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi yesterday causing a tsunami wave measuring six metres (18 feet) high to hit the city of Palu.
At least 384 people were killed, Indonesia’s Jusuf Kalla has said the death toll could rise into the thousands.
The latest estimates state 540 people were injured while 29 people are still missing.
Hundreds of people were gathered for a festival on Palu’s beach at the time when the 497mph wave hit.
The main tremor struck at 6:02 pm local time (12.02pm BST) about 35 miles northeast of Donggala, Indonesia according to the US Geological Survey.
Soon after, a tsunami warning was issued by Indonesia’s geophysics agency, before being lifted. After the tsunami warning was lifted, a huge wave struck Donggala and Palu, a coastal town of about 330,000.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency BNPB, described the damage to Palu as “extensive” with thousands of buildings destroyed or washed away.
Below are the latest updates, all times in BST.
3.50pm: Rescuers still unable to reach Donggala
Relief officials have yet to make contact with the Dongala regency close to the epicentre of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake.
The 180-mile area has an estimated population of 299,200 people.
3.10pm: Indoensia’s geophysics agency defends lifting tsunami warning
Indonesia’s geophysics agency (BMKG) has defended its action to lift a tsunami warning 34 minutes after it was issued, following widespread
BMKG said it followed standard operating procedure based on data from the closest tidal sensor, located about 125 miles from Palu.
The sensor recorded an “insignificant” 6cm wave that did not account for the large wave which devastated Palu, said Rahmat Triyono, head of the earthquakes and tsunami centre at BMKG.
He said: “We have no observation data at Palu. So we had to use the data we had and make a call based on that.
“If we had a tide gauge or proper data in Palu, of course it would have been better. This is something we must evaluate for the future.”
He added: “Based on the videos circulating on social media, we estimate the tsunami happened before the warning officially ended.”
2.05pm: Death toll could rise to thousands, Indonesian vice president warns
Vice President Jusuf Kalla has warned the death toll from yesterday’s tsunami and earthquake could rise into the thousands.
The warning comes as relief workers continue to struggle to reach Donggala, close to the epicentre of the earthquake.
In a statement, the Red Cross said: “We’re now getting limited communications about the destruction in Palu city, but we have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying. There are more than 300,000 people living there.
The aid organisation said its staff and volunteers were heading to the affected areas, adding: “This is already a tragedy, but it could get much worse.”
1.25pm: Aerial pictures of Palu city show devastation caused by tsunami
Aerial images taken by Indonesia’s national disaster agency show how Palu was ravaged by the giant waves when they hit.
Unidentified buildings, including what looks like to be a mosque surrounded by water, were captured by the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB).
Other images appear to show flattened land next to damaged buildings.
Indonesia TSUNAMI LIVE: Another aerial image showing buildings in Palu damaged or destroyed
Indonesia TSUNAMI LIVE: Aerial footage showing the devastation caused to Palu
1.10pm: Children’s charity Plan International is sending a team to perform a ‘rapid needs assessment’.
Plan International has sent members to assess the needs of children and young women caught up in the aftermath of Friday’s natural disasters.
The aid organisation tweeted: “Following the earthquake and tsunami, @PlanIndonesia are sending a team to conduct a rapid needs assessment. They will focus particularly on children, ensuring that their distinct needs – especially those of girls and young women – are met.”
12.05pm: Is Bali affected?
Bali is located hundreds of miles south from Palu where the earthquake and tsunami hit.
No alerts have been issued for Bali and travellers are safe to travel to the Indonesian island as normal, according to the latest reports.
The latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office update says: “Ngurah Rai (Denpasar) and Lombok airports and the major tourist resorts in Bali and southern Lombok are operating as normal.”
Read the latest travel advice here
11.13am: Hero air traffic controller who cleared plane from runway as earthquake hit dies of injuries
A brave traffic air controller, 21, has died of his injuries after jumping off an air traffic control tower just before clearing an airplane for safe take-off as the huge earthquake struck.
Anthonius Gunawan Agung waited until the Batik Air plane left the runway before jumping, Didiet KS Radityo corporate secretary of the Indonesian Flight Navigation Service Institution (AirNav Indonesia) told The Jakarta Post.
Mr Agung sustained broken legs, arms and ribs after plunging form the fourth floor of the ATC tower at Palu’s Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport.
A helicopter was en route to take him to hospital but did not manage to land in time to save the air traffic conroller’s life, according to Mr Radityo.
He told The Jakarta Post: “But God had another plan. He passed away 20 minutes before the helicopter arrived.”
“Agung dedicated himself to his job until the end of his life and did not leave the control tower until the plane took off, even though the earthquake had struck.”
10.37am: Power outages hinder rescue efforts
Authorities trying to carry out rescues say a massive power outage that cut communications around Palu following the tsunami has hampered their efforts.
International aid charity Humanitarian Relief tweeted: “Nearly 400 people died and scores of people were injured in #Palu city in Sulawesi Island of #Indonesia that hit by a major earthquake and tsunami yesterday. There are difficulties in reaching #Donggala city, so there is no reliable information for the casualities.”
10.33am: Tsunami warning issued was lifted too soon, critics say
Indonesia’s meteorological and geophysics agency BMKG has been widely criticised for lifting the tsunami warning too early.
Officials said waves had come within the time the warning was issued.
Hundreds of people were
10am: Large aftershocks still rocking Palu and surrounding regions
Numerous aftershocks measuring as high as 5.8 magnitude continue to reverberate through the north of Sulawesi island around Palu where the earthquake and tsunami hit.
The most recent aftershock measuring 5.1 magnitude struck 32 miles west of Kasiguncu at 8.40am BST.
Indonesia TSUNAMI LIVE: Survivors are treated by medical teams on the ground in Palu
Saturday 29 September
9.30am: Damage to Palu ‘extensive’
The damage to Palu has been described as “extensive” by Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
Thousands of houses, hospitals, shopping malls and hotels collapsed and a bridge washed away.
Mr Nugroho said the wave was travelling at 497mph when it hit ashore.
The main highway to Palu was cut off due to a landslide.
9.26am: Death toll rises to 384
The death toll from the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami has risen to at least 384 people, officials have confirmed.
Hundreds of people were Palu city beach on Friday when waves measuring six metres (18 feet) high smashed ashore.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency BNPB told a news briefing: “When the (tsunami) threat arose yesterday, people were still doing their activities on the beach and did not immediately run and they became victims.
“The tsunami didn’t come by itself, it dragged cars, logs, houses, it hit everything on land.”
Survivors were said to have climbed six metre-high trees to prevent being washed away.
540 people have been injured and 29 people are still missing.
9.22am: Kat Hopps takes over live reporting
5.00am update: Death toll rises to 48
Indonesia’s disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says four hospitals in Palu in Sulawesi have reported 48 deaths.
He told a news conference Saturday that hospitals in the city are also treating several hundred injured victims and many people still remain uncounted for.
3.00am update: Indonesia’s president says he instructed the security minister to coordinate the government’s response to a quake and tsunami that hit central Sulawesi
President Joko Widodo told reporters in his hometown of Solo that he had called on the country’s military chief to work on search and rescue efforts and evacuations as needed.
2.30am update: At least 30 people are dead in the bay city of Palu in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island
A hospital official told Metro TV on Saturday at least 30 people had ben killed.
In a video doctor Komang Adi Sujendra said 30 people were killed and had been taken to the hospital where he was.
He added a further 12 needed orthopedic surgery.
02.00am update: The damage from the tsunami and powerful quakes is still unclear
According to a statement from the Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), the Indonesian natural disaster agency, the earthquakes have caused widespread power outages.
Local agencies are working to resolve the situation, however.
BNPB declared the Indonesian army will deploy troops to help with the impacts.
Indonesia TSUNAMI LIVE: Sutopo Purwo Nugroho gives a news conference with the latest details
Friday 28 September
10.00pm update: Recap
Pictures of the disaster show a boy walking in front of a collapsed house after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake that hit in Donggala, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia today.
The series of powerful earthquakes to hit Central Sulawesi have killed at least one person and injured dozens of people, according to the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management.
The person was killed after a building collapsed in this region.
Lombok was struck by a series of earthquakes last month
Last month, a series of earthquakes struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, killing hundreds.
The biggest earthquake struck on August 5, killing more than 460.
The earthquake hit just off central Sulawesi at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just before 12pm, the US Geological Survey said.
A tsunami warning was issued, but lifted within the hour.
Homes have been destroyed following the tsunami
6.59pm update: Red Cross sends support to people in Sulawesi island
A statement from Red Cross reads: “Specialist teams from the Indonesian Red Cross are on their way to support search and rescue efforts, deliver relief goods, and undertake rapid
assessments. The Red Cross is also sending relief supplies blankets, sleeping mats and jerry cans. It takes hours of driving to reach the most affected areas and the closure of the main airport in Palu means the teams will not arrive until the morning.
“The initial reports indicate that dozens of buildings have collapsed, including houses and public facilities. There are also power outages and disruption to communication lines.
“Search, rescue and retrieval efforts are underway, with hundreds of villagers and members of the Indonesian Red Cross based in Donggala, National Search and Rescue Agency,
Indonesian National Police, Indonesian National Armed Forces and local government agencies involved.
“The British Red Cross are monitoring this developing situation.”
Many buildings were shaken and destroyed by the quakes and tsunami
5.58pm update: Areas in the city of Palu and the nearby town of Donggala remain unable to contact
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said communications had been cut both in the city of Palu and the nearby fishing town of Donggala, closest to the epicentre of the quake 80 km (50 miles) away.
More will come to light when search parties are sent out tomorrow morning.
Mr Nugroho expects the toll of those killed or injured to grow.
He said: “The (second) quake was felt very strongly, we expect more damage and more victims.”
5.33pm update: Families are missing, but waters have receded.
Since the tsunami struck officials have said waters have receded. However officials have also said that families are missing.
It is currently around midnight in Indonesia, meaning search operations will have to begin at first light.
These will determine the extent of the damage, amid reports of whole families are missing in the aftermath of the natural disaster.
Indonesia earthquake: Tsunami hits – 31 aftershocks recorded
5.05pm update: Map shows the extent of area affected by today’s earthquakes
The United States Geologial Survey (USGS) have released a map showing how far away from the epicentre the massive magnitude 7.5 earthquake affected.
The earthquakes hit offshore and triggered a tsunami that saw waves reach two-metres high.
4.47pm update: A 2004 tsunami in Indonesia killed 226,000 people
A tsunami caused by an earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra in 2004 killed 226,000 people.
The number of those killed includes more than 120,000 in Indonesia.
The earthquake struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi
4.32pm update: Mosque knocked down by tsunami
Dramatic video footage shows the tsunami hitting the city of Palu, with high waves sweeping away several buildings and then hitting the large tilted mosque in the town.
The area hit was about 80km from the epicentre of the earthquake.
4.24pm update: Indonesia is susceptible to earthquakes due to its position on the Ring of Fire
Indonesia suffers from a multitude of earthquakes due to the fact it lies on the Ring of Fire.
The Ring of Fire is home to around 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes and 81 percent of the word’s largest earthquakes.
The Ring of Fire was created from the movement and collisions of tectonic plates.
In particular the subduction of the northern area.
4.06pm update: Officials have stated five have died but it is unclear as to whether they are due to the tsunami
Officials have reported five deaths according to the BBC – but it is not clear if those were as a result of the tsunami.
Indonesia has seen a surge in seismic activity of late. Last month a series earthquakes hit the Indonesian island of Lombok.
Hundreds of people died, with the biggest earthquake on August 5 killing more than 460 people.
3.57pm update: 31 huge aftershocks felt after earthquake hit
Rahmat Triyono, head of the earthquake and Tsunami said: “After a big quake in the afternoon last in Donggala and Palu, currently recorded aftershocks have occurred as many as 31 times.”
3.53pm update: Sulawesi where tsunami struck popular tourist destination
The small Indonesian island of Sulawesi where the tsunami struck is a popular tourist destination.
The island is known for its coral reefs and dive sites such as Bunaken National Park, the Togian Islands and Wakatobi National Park.
Indonesia has been hit with a huge magnitude 7.7 earthquake today
3.47pm update: Search and rescue will be deployed to aid following the Tsunami
According to national search and rescue chief Muhammad Syaug the agency will send a large ship and helicopters to aid with rescue and clean-up operations.
Mr Syaug added that he had not yet been able to contact his team in Palu.
Palu was hit by a 6.2 magnitude quake in 2005 which killed one person and is a tourist resort at the end of a narrow bay famous for its beaches and water sports.
3.29pm update: As of yet, no word of casualties from the tsunami
Tsunami waves reached as high as two metres and hit the small Indonesian island of Sulawesi following the huge 7.5 offshore earthquake.
Dwikorita Karnawati head of Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency, BMKG told Reuters “The 1.5- to two-metre tsunami has receded.”
“It ended. The situation is chaotic, people are running on the streets and buildings collapsed. There is a ship washed ashore.”
This image shows the area the earthquakes and subsequent tsunami struck
3.16pm update: The largest quake occurred as disaster agencies were struggling to reach those affected
An official with Akris, the local disaster agency, told the AP:
“It happened while we still have difficulties in collecting data from nine villages affected by the first quake.”
“People ran out in panic.”
2.40pm update: Three earthquakes struck in quick succession
The main earthquake that shook Sulawesi measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, however an earlier earthquake measuring 6.6 also hit.
Following the magnitude 7.5 earthquake, a smaller 5.8 earthquake also hit.
According to reports homes have been damaged and 10 have been injured with one fatality.
12.20pm update: A 7.5 magnitude quake has hit Palu in Indonesia