Dawn revealed a devastated coastline in central Sulawesi where the tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake on Friday smashed, into two cities and several settlements. Initial reports suggested the injured toll could be around 350.
The city is built around a narrow bay that apparently magnified the force of the tsunami waters as they raced into the tight inlet. Thousands of buildings either collapsed or were swept away by water in Palu City, Indonesia, leaving scores trapped in the debris, sleeping outdoors or severely wounded.
At least 48 people have died since Friday and authorities are warning that the death toll may substantially rise in the coming days, Indonesia’s Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
Rescuers scrambled Saturday searching for survivors and carrying bodies away from the debris after a series of earthquakes and a tsunami struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
Communications with the area are difficult because power and telecommunications are cut, hampering search and rescue efforts.