Scores of people have been killed in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, struck by a 7.7-magnitude quake, which triggered a tsunami that swept through two coastal towns. Dozens of houses have been flattened, burying victims under rubble.
Harrowing images have come from Indonesia, showing the scale of destruction that the Sulawesi quake inflicted on the towns of Palu and Donggala, located close to the epicenter of the quake that wrought havoc on the island on Friday afternoon.
Rescue efforts have been hampered by a power blackout that hit the affected towns, making it impossible for the authorities to estimate the real number of victims.
Dr. H. Wiranto, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, said on Friday evening that the authorities were still having difficulties with receiving feedback from the regions severely affected by the disaster.
He said that the government might have to resort to the satellite communication provided by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency if power is not restored by Sunday morning.
With the lack of official death toll, the national disaster agency says it’s recovered at least 48 bodies after the quake and the ensuing tsunami that hit the coastline with 3-meter (10 foot) high waves.
The Palu airport has also been damaged, losing some 500 meters of its 2,500-meter long runway. However, the authorities assured that the remaining length will be enough for Hercules cargo aircraft to land and bring essential supplies to the hard-hit regions.