A magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck Indonesia on Friday, resulting in a tsunami that caused major devastation to the city of Palu and surrounding areas. At the time of writing, at least 844 people have been confirmed dead, but there are fears that this number could rise considerably. Dozens are believed to be trapped beneath rubble, but the progress of efforts to retrieve them is slow; the BBC quoted a spokesman for the country’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency as saying that ‘communication is limited, heavy machinery is limited … it’s not enough for the numbers of buildings that collapsed’.
Palu is a popular destination for tourists, and hundreds of revellers were enjoying a beach festival when the tsunami struck. It is currently unknown how many foreign nationals have been affected, but many bodies are reportedly washing up on the beach. The military has been drafted in to conduct relief efforts, and authorities have said that they are having to conduct mass burials, partly to stop the spread of disease.