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Quake triggers tsunami

Quake triggers tsunami
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A tsunami of up to two metres has hit a small city on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, collapsing buildings and washing a vessel onto land, after a...

Jakarta: A tsunami of up to two metres has hit a small city on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, collapsing buildings and washing a vessel onto land, after a magnitude-7.7 quake struck offshore, but there has been no word on casualties, officials say. Authorities received information that Palu had been hit amid a rapid series of aftershocks, Dwikorita Karnawati, who heads Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency, BMKG, said.

"The 1.5 to two-metre tsunami has receded, it ended," Ms Karnawati said. "The situation is chaotic, people are running on the streets and buildings collapsed. There is a ship washed ashore," she added. Videos circulating on social media show a powerful wave hitting the provincial capital, Palu, with people screaming and running in fear.

Indonesian disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said houses were swept away by the tsunami and families had been reported missing. He said communications with central Sulawesi were down, and the search and rescue efforts were being hampered by darkness.

BMKG had earlier issued a tsunami warning, but lifted it within the hour. "We advise people to remain in safe area, stay away from damaged buildings," Nugroho said in a televised interview. Palu, hit by a magnitude-6.2 quake in 2005 which killed one person, is a tourist resort at the end of a narrow bay famous for its beaches and water sports.

In 2004, an earthquake off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

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