Tsunami Hits the Palu Beach, Emergency Operation Continues

Magnitude 7.7 earthquake, later updated by BMKG to magnitude 7.4, shook the areas in Palu and Donggala, Central Sulawesi on 28/9/2018 at 17.02 WIB. Epicenter. The epicenter was 10 km from the 27 km distance north east of the Donggala Sea, Central Sulawesi. The earthquake had the potential to cause a tsunami. BMKG had activated tsunami early warning with Siaga (Warning) status (high potential tsunami 0.5 - 3 meters) on the western Donggala coast, and Waspada (Advisory) status (tsunami potential height of less than 0.5 meters) on northern Donggala coast, northern Mamuju and West Palu City. BMKG has ended tsunami early warning on 28/9/2018 at 17.36 WIB.


Based on the confirmation to BMKG, a tsunami struck the beach. The BNPB Command Post also confirmed to BPBD that the tsunami had hit the Talise beach in Palu City and the beach in Donggala. Videos captured by local community and disseminated on social media about tsunamis in Palu and Donggala are true. The tsunami and the earthquake caused casualties. Early reports indicated that some victims died because of collapsed buildings. The tsunami also hit several settlements and buildings on the beach. Data on the number of victims and their impact are still being collected. 

Staff members from the BPBD, TNI, Polri, Basarnas, SKPD, and volunteers are carrying out evacuation and providing assistance to the victims. Injured victims are handled by health workers. Emergency operation is ongoing.

Power outages caused the communication network in Donggala and surrounding areas in-operational because disruption to the PLN's electricity supply. There are 276 base stations that become in-operational. Communication operators continue to try to recover electricity supply on an emergency basis. The Ministry of Communication and Information has taken measures to recover the broken communication.

The Head of BNPB together with BNPB officials left for Palu this evening through Makassar then proceeded to Palu and Donggala City using helicopters. Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu was closed from 28/9/2018 at 19.26 WITA until 29/9/2018 at 19.20 WITA. Meanwhile, the BNPB Rapid Reaction Team has also moved towards Donggala through Balikpapan. From Balikpapan, the BNPB Quick Reaction Team flew to Donggala using water bombing helicopters in Balikpapan. The team carries satellite communication equipment and other equipment.

The TNI will deploy troops to help deal with the impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Palu City and Doggala. The TNI moved 7 units from Yonkes, Yonzipur, Yonif, and Yonzikon using 2 C-130 Hercules aircraft. Basarnas will mobilize 30 personnel along with equipment using Hercules aircraft. The National Police will also mobilize personnel and equipment to provide emergency response support.

Crippled communication line in the area makes coordination and reporting difficult. The power outages also caused complete darkness in Palu and Donggala. Aftershocks are still happening.


Sutopo Purwo Nugroho

Kepala Pusat Data Informasi dan Humas BNPB

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