Nearly 50 confirmed dead after 7.5 natural disaster rocks Indonesia

Indonesia death toll continues to climb

Video on social media shows people screaming and fleeing in panic and a mosque amongst the buildings damaged.

This latest quake comes after a series of earthquakes in July and August killed at least 623 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings on the Indonesian island of Lombok, which is situated hundreds of kilometres south-west of Sulawesi. But the death toll is still unclear.

In Palu, more than 16,000 people were evacuated after the disaster struck.

Thirty bodies are lying at one Indonesian hospital, an official told a TV station.

"There are 30 dead at our hospital".

On a video posted on Twitter, Dr Komang Adi Sujendra, Director of Undata Hospital in Palu, appealed for public assistance.

On Friday, a powerful 7.5 magnitude quake and tsunami struck Sulawesi Island in Indonesia, destroying thousands of buildings and leaving dozens of people dead, with many others missing.

Residents stand in front of a damaged shopping mall after an quake hit Palu.

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

Footage shared online showed the massive wave crashing into the coast near Palu. The water smashed into buildings and a large mosque already damaged by the quake.

Indonesia's disaster agency says the fate of "tens to hundreds" of people involved in a beach festival is unknown after the area was struck by a tsunami.

Rescue efforts are under way, though hampered by a major power cut.

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Nugroho said the quake intensity was much higher in the fishing town of Donggala, which was closer to the epicenter, and they expect the damage there to be much worse, but have not been able to establish communications.

"We got a report over the phone saying that there was a guy who climbed a tree up to 6 meters high", Nugroho said. The water smashed into buildings and the damaged mosque.

The tsunami, triggered by a magnitude 7.5 natural disaster, destroyed the idyllic scene in seconds, leaving hundreds dead.

Joko Widodo also told reporters in his hometown of Solo that he had called on the country's military chief to help with search and rescue efforts. "It is better not to be in a house or building because the potential for aftershocks can be unsafe".

"It is not just the people in the large urban areas. Avoid the slopes of hills".

That quake triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including 168,000 in Indonesia. Authorities fear that the death toll, which was at 48 several hours earlier, could continue to rise quickly.

"The situation is chaotic, people are running on the streets and buildings collapsed".

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said officials were in contact with Indonesian authorities and "stand ready to provide support as required".

Some 1,500 people were injured and about 400,000 residents were displaced after their homes were destroyed.

"But this was not the first time".

The tsunami was triggered by a strong quake.

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