Death toll touches 400 in Indonesia after a powerful 7.5 earthquake
Cities Palu and Donggala, home to over 600,000 inhabitants, reduced to a rubble
Rescue workers were hunting for survivors on Saturday after earthquakes, including a powerful 7.5 magnitude tremor, and tsunami struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, killing at least 385 people. The death toll was expected to rise amid continuing aftershocks, officials said.
Three hundred and eighty five people died in the city of Palu, where preparations for a beach festival had been underway when the tsunami struck. National Agency for Disaster Management spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that 29 were still missing.
"We have found corpses from the earthquake as well as bodies swept up by the tsunami," Sutopo said, adding that the government was set to declare a state of emergency and stressed that the most important task was to restore power to the region. Officials were unable to make contact with Donggala, a fishing community near Palu that was also reported to have been hit by the tsunami. The disasters cut off roads and forced the airport in Palu to be closed, officials said. The worst-affected Palu and Donggala are home to more than 6,00,000 people.
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