Indonesia : A strong tsunami triggered when a magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit a coastal Indonesian city today.
Waves of up to 2m high swept through Palu on Sulawesi island, not long after authorities had lifted a tsunami warning.
Officials have reported five deaths, but it is not clear if those were from Tsunami effect. – but it is not clear if those were as a result of the tsunami.
“There are reports that many buildings collapsed in the earthquake,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement. “Residents panicked and scattered out their homes.” Search and rescue teams have been dispatched to hard-hit areas, Nugroho said.
The quake hit central Sulawesi island at a shallow depth of some 10 kilometres (six miles), the US Geological Survey said, just hours after a smaller jolt killed at least one person in the same part of the country.
The disaster agency briefly issued a tsunami warning before lifting it.
The latest quake was a higher magnitude than those that killed hundreds on the island of Lombok earlier this year.
Friday’s tremor was centred 78 kilometres north of Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province, but was felt in the far south of the island in its largest city Makassar and on the neighbouring island of Kalimantan, Indonesia’s portion of Borneo island.
The initial tremor struck as evening prayers were about to begin in the world’s biggest Muslim majority country on the holiest day of the week when mosques would be especially busy.
It was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including one measuring 5.7 magnitude.
Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth.
The Southeast Asian archipelago nation lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide and many of the world’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.
This summer, a series of powerful quakes hit Lombok, killing over 550 people on the holiday island and neighbouring Sumbawa.
Some 1,500 people were injured and about 400,000 residents were displaced after their homes were destroyed.
Indonesia has been hit by a string of other deadly quakes including a devastating 9.1 magnitude tremor that struck off the coast of Sumatra in 2004.
That quake triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including 168,000 in Indonesia.
The Boxing Day disaster was the world’s third biggest quake since 1900, and lifted the ocean floor in some places by 15 meters.
Indonesia’s Aceh province was the hardest hit area, but the tsunami affected coastal areas as far away as Africa.
Among the country’s other big earthquakes, a 6.3-magnitude quake in 2006 rocked a densely populated region of Java near the city of Yogyakarta, killing around 6,000 people and injuring 38,000.