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08 Oct 2018 | 10:26 AM UTC

Indonesia: Earthquake death toll nears 2000 /update 12

Relief efforts continue in Central Sulawesi October 8 as death toll rises nears 2000; 5000 people missing; repairs to Palu Airport (PLW) runway expected to be completed October 12



Indonesian disaster relief officials announced that close to 2000 people had been confirmed dead as of Monday, October 8, following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi on September 28. A further 5000 people are estimated to be missing. Authorities have announced on Monday that they will continue search operations until October 11.

Officials have warned of the spread of disease (e.g. diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, malaria) and the threat of looting as relief efforts continue amid severely damaged infrastructure in Central Sulawesi province. The region continues to experience severe shortages of food, water, medicine, and fuel. Transportation, telecommunication, electricity, plumbing and sewage infrastructure remains damaged, particularly in remote areas away from Palu.

However, some progress has been made repairing roads, including the Trans-Sulawesi route. Furthermore, the runway at Palu's Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport (PLW) should be repaired by October 12. The airport is currently operating at a limited capacity with a 2000 m (6500 ft) runway, as the remaining 250 m (820 ft) was damaged in the earthquake.


A 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Central Sulawesi province at 18:02 on September 28, 80 km (50 mi) north of Palu at a depth of 10 km (6 mi), causing a tsunami around 2 m (6 ft) high that struck the western coast of Sulawesi, including Palu.

Indonesia lies within the active seismic zone known as "the Pacific Ring of Fire."


Individuals present in the impacted region are advised to monitor the situation, be prepared for further aftershocks, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities. Individuals elsewhere in Indonesia are advised to defer all travel to the affected areas until further notice.

During an earthquake, individuals are advised to protect themselves as much as possible from falling debris if indoors (e.g. under a table), to move away from windows and exterior walls, and do not attempt to leave the building unless there is an immediate danger. If outdoors, move away from any tall structures, such as buildings, utility wires, and streetlights.

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