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7.5 magnitude earthquake rattles Indonesia and triggers tsunami in Palu, Donggala

Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist

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A powerful earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi around 5 p.m. local time on Friday.

The earthquake was initially measured at a magnitude of 7.5 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). About 10 minutes later, another quake struck the area, this one registering as a magnitude of 5.8.

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) warned that a tsunami was possible as a result, according to the Associated Press.

dmco earthquake 9/28

Just after 8 p.m., a spokesperson for the BMKG confirmed that a tsunami occurred along a shoreline of Palu.

Houses were reportedly swept away and families are reported missing following the tsunami, according to the AP. The 3-meter (10-foot) -tall tsunami impacted at least two cities, disrupting communication and power to the area.

An official with Akris, the local disaster agency, said that many houses collapsed due to the powerful evening earthquake.

AP indonesia earthquake 9/28

In this image made from video, patients are evacuated from a hospital following a strong earthquake in Poso, central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. A powerful earthquake has rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and triggered a 1.5-meter (5-foot) tsunami that swept away houses in at least two cities. (AP Photo)

"It happened while we still have difficulties in collecting data from nine villages affected by the first quake,” he told The AP. “People ran out in panic.”

According to disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the Donggala area in central Sulawesi Province has sustained significant damage.


Indonesia Weather Center

Detailed Forecast for Palu, Indonesia

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Earlier on Friday, a nearby quake with a magnitude 5.0 struck the same area. This event reportedly damaged homes and resulted in 10 injuries and one fatality.

The area will likely continue to experience aftershocks over the coming hours and perhaps days.

The nation has suffered from several powerful earthquakes in recent months, which have killed nearly 500 people and caused widespread damage.