Indonesia tsunami: Waves as high as 6 metres kill hundreds

A house sits damaged after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Donggala central Sulawesi Indonesia

On December 26, 2004, a 9.1-magnitude "megathrust" natural disaster hit Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra island in Indonesia, causing a tsunami that reached coastal areas as far away as Somalia.

Dramatic video of the tsunami hitting Palu shows the high waves sweeping away several buildings and then the large tilted mosque in the town, about 80km from the quake's epicentre.

On Saturday, authorities were still having difficulties coordinating rescue efforts without power and communications as the area was rocked by aftershocks.

In the nearby city of Donggala, home to almost 300,000 people, a large arched bridge that spanned a coastal river collapsed.

However, the tsunami caused a power outage in Palu, snapping its communication lines and making collection of information hard.

Rescue officials on Saturday were struggling with poor communications, widespread outages, destroyed bridges and blocked roads.

"Many houses have collapsed", said an official with the local disaster agency, Akris.

The main airport in Palu has been closed since the tsunami hit.

Residents stand in front of a damaged shopping mall after an natural disaster hit Palu, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia September 29, 2018. Another series of strong quakes in mid-August killed at least a dozen on Lombok and neighbouring Sumbawa island.

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It lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and numerous world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

Palu, which has more than 380,000 people, was strewn with debris from the quake and tsunami.

"I'm anxious about people who might have been washed away".

After the 7.5-magnitude quake hit Friday, water smashed into buildings and swept away homes in the coastal city of Palu city, home to 350,000 people.

The death toll in the disaster has been put at almost 400 so far but authorities expect the figure to rise. The agency was widely criticised for not informing a tsunami had hit Palu on Saturday, though officials said waves had come within the time the warning was issued. "Electricity is out all over Palu", he said.

Hospitals and rescuers are struggling to deal with the aftermath of a 7.5 magnitude natural disaster that triggered an unexpected tsunami in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, killing at least 384 people.

The massive tremors were felt hundreds of kilometres away and there has been little word about casualties in Donggala, a region north of Palu where at least one person was reported dead in Friday's quakes.

Hundreds of people were injured and hospitals, damaged by the quake, were overwhelmed.

Road access to Palu from the east and the south were also disconnected.

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