VP fears Indonesia death toll could rise into the 'thousands'

At Least 30 Killed by 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake, Tsunami in Indonesia

Dozens of people were reported to be trapped in the rubble of a hotel and a mall in the city of Palu, which was hit by waves as high as six metres (20 feet) following the 7.5 magnitude natural disaster on Friday.

Red Cross said there are more than 300,000 people living in the area, and vice president Jusuf Kalla warned the death toll could rise to thousands.

The tsunami killed about 50,000 people in other countries, bringing the total fatalities to approximately 220,000, making it one of the worst natural disasters in human history.

President Joko Widodo was scheduled to visit evacuation centres on Sunday.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 384 people were killed in the hard-hit city of Palu alone.

"We are having difficulty deploying heavy equipment to find victims under the rubble of buildings because numerous roads leading to Palu city are damaged", he was quoted by the Kompas newspaper as saying.

Residents of Palu, who sought safety on roofs and balconies, shared footage of the devastating wave as it hit the city. Many people are being treated in makeshift medical tents set up out on the streets.

People survey outside the shopping mall which was damaged following earthquakes and a tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. A bridge was washed away and the main highway to Palu was cut off due to a landslide.

The natural disaster has come a month after a trio of earthquakes hit several islands in the Sotuh Pacific and Indonesia, which is still recovering from the effects of an August 5 quake that killed more than 450 people.

Bodies of some victims were found trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, he said, adding 540 people were injured and 29 were missing.

Dramatic video footage captured from the top floor of a parking ramp in Palu, almost 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the quake's epicentre, showed waves bring down several buildings and inundate a large mosque. "We don't even have time yet to report this incident to our superiors", he said.

"We have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying".

The Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected by the quake and tsunami.

Already, a story of bravery has emerged from the tragedy.

"If he needs our help, he'll have it", Mr Morrison told the ABC on Sunday. I don't know what happened to her and my child.

Road access to Palu from the east and the south are disconnected, making relief efforts hard, authorities said.

"This morning we received very unfortunate news".

"Communication is cut off". Hotel owner Ko Jefry told Metro TV on Saturday that up to 60 people were believed trapped. Reuters was not able to immediately authenticate the footage.

Indonesia's meteorological and geophysics agency BMKG issued a tsunami warning after the first quake, but lifted it 34 minutes later.

The agency was widely criticised on Saturday for withdrawing the warning too quickly, though officials said they estimated the waves had come within the time the warning was in force.

The military has started sending in cargo planes with aid from Jakarta and other cities, authorities said, but evacuees still badly need food and other basic necessities.

Nugroho has said that essential aircraft can land at Palu airport's, though AirNav, which oversees aircraft navigation, said the runway was cracked and the control tower damaged.

The 7.5 magnitude quake triggered a 10-foot high tsunami which smashed into the city of Palu.

In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 natural disaster off Sumatra in western Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

- 2016: A shallow quake hit the Pidie Jaya regency in Aceh, causing destruction and panic as people were reminded by the devastation of the deadly 2004 quake and tsunami.

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