Indonesia’s geophysics agency confirmed Friday’s Sulawesi earthquake triggered a tsunami. The statement comes after a video emerged online of a huge tsunami hitting a town in the region.
A tsunami of up to two meters hit the Palu region after the quake, but according to local authorities, the waters have receded. No details of possible casualties have been released.
Indonesian disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the earthquake also caused a tsunami to hit another city, Donggala.
He said in a live TV interview Friday that houses were swept away and families are reported missing. Communications in central Sulawesi are down while darkness is further hampering the search and rescue efforts.
Footage posted online by Twitter user @DianOnno shows an enormous wave sweeping over the beachfront and onto shore at Palu, as people cry out and flee. She says the video was passed to her by a colleague who has been unable to contact their family in the area after receiving the footage from their sister.
In another part of the video, water can be seen crashing towards the Baiturrahman Mosque and the Palu Grand Mall.
The event was also confirmed to The Jakarta Post by an official at the Central Sulawesi Museum in Palu. “Yes, there was a smashing of seawater,” he said, before the phone connection ended.
Earlier, a 7.7-magnitude quake struck off the coast of Sulawesi island. A tsunami warning was initially issued by the country’s meteorological agency, but was lifted a short time later.
It followed a fatal 6.1 magnitude quake earlier Friday, which left one person dead and at least 10 people injured.