Dawn revealed a devastated coastline in Sulawesi, where the 10-foot high tsunami triggered by a 7.5-magnitude quake on Friday smashed into two cities and several settlements.
In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 quake off Sumatra in western Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
Officials have confirmed people are missing after the wave hit the cities of Palu and Donggala, although it is not clear how many casualties there are. Photos showed twisted tin and wood splinters floating in the coffee-colored torrent alongside cars and motorbikes that had been tossed like toys. Bodies lay partially covered by tarpaulins and a man carried a dead child through the wreckage.
A tsunami that hit two central Indonesian cities swept away buildings and pulverized a substantial bridge, dumping victims caught in its relentless path across a devastated landscape that rescuers Saturday were struggling to reach, hindered by damaged roads and broken communications. Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla said the final number of dead could be in the "thousands" as many regions have still not been reached.
"Because of the bay, all the water comes there and collects together".
At least 384 people have now died on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi after the area was hit by a magnitude-7.5 quake and subsequent tsunami.
Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a press conference that four hospitals in the city of Palu had reported 48 dead and hundreds of injured.
The nearby city of Donggala and the town of Mamuju were also ravaged by the magnitude 7.5 quake and tsunami but had not yet been reached by aid due to damaged roads and disrupted telecommunications.
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Indonesia, which sits on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, is all too familiar with deadly earthquakes and tsunamis. She said she was finally expecting to board a plane on Tuesday, and she was "absolutely delighted and thankful to God" for it.
"We haven't received reports from the three other areas".
"We need heavy equipment for this evacuation process", Nugroho said.
"There are several health facilities and hospitals in Palu". One woman was about to give birth.
The quakes led to the closure of the main airport in the province and cut off communication, officials said. The city was eerily dark and quiet with no electricity and not even landline phones working.
PALU, Indonesia-The toll from an quake and tsunami in Indonesia soared on Sunday to 832 confirmed dead, with authorities fearing it will only climb as rescuers struggle to reach outlying communities cut off from communications and help.
The tsunami was triggered by a strong quake that brought down buildings and sent locals fleeing for higher ground as a churning wall of water crashed into Palu, where there were widespread power blackouts. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country. While it occurred on a strike-slip fault, he said the part that ruptured was on a small segment that can move in a vertical motion.
Donggala town has been extensively damaged, with houses swept into the sea and bodies trapped in debris, according to a Metro TV reporter on the scene.
It lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and numerous world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.