See More on Facebook

Analysis, Economics

Central Indonesia Earthquake roundup

A 7,4-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck central Indonesia on Friday causing widespread destruction.


Written by

Updated: October 1, 2018

The death toll from the earthquake in Palu and Donggala, Central Sulawesi has risen to 832, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) announced on Sunday afternoon. Around 821 victims have been found in Palu, while the rest have been found in Donggala.

The agency has also recorded that at least 540 people were injured by the earthquake and tsunami, and are currently being treated in hospitals. Meanwhile, 16,372 people are reportedly displaced and are currently occupying 24 camps around the region.

BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that the death toll was likely to rise given that rescuers had yet to identify or find many victims, or even reach some disaster-stricken areas.

Most of the deaths resulted from people being buried under rubble or being struck by the tsunami. The police held prompt and proper burials for the deceased after identifying them using the Disaster Victim Identification method and taking their fingerprints.

Thousands more fear dead

A number of areas in Central Sulawesi were hit by large amounts of mudflow following the 7.4-magnitude earthquake. Petobo subdistrict in South Palu district, Palu, which is located 10-kilometers from the sea, has been struck by such mudflow. It is feared that about 2,000 people in the subdistrict are dead, with homes having been dragged away by the mud.

Mobile phone footage of the mudflow circulated online on Sunday, showing several buildings being dragged. The video was accompanied by a broadcast message saying the incident occurred in Jono Oge village in Sigi regency on Saturday afternoon.

The person recording the event could be heard saying, “Oh Jesus Christ,” while the houses before him were moving.

Another video posted on Twitter shows people running and houses collapsing because of liquefaction in an unidentified location in Palu.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said during a press briefing on Sunday in Jakarta that soil liquefaction had occurred, a natural phenomenon that takes place when solid soil loses its strength and behaves like a liquid due to stress such as shaking during an earthquake.

“We observed that such phenomenon had dragged buildings away in several locations, such as in Sigi Biromaru district in Sigi regency and South Palu district,” Sutopo said.

State of emergency declared

The Central Sulawesi administration has declared a 14-day state of emergency over the weekend, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the state of emergency period was declared from Sept. 28 to Oct. 11.

“As the administration has declared the emergency state period, it will be easier for both the regional and national government to mobilize personnel, logistics, equipment as well as money to fulfil the needs of the affected area and people,” Sutopo said during a press briefing on Sunday in Jakarta.

The BNPB will assist the regional administration during the emergency period, especially in relation to disaster fund usage. The government has pledged Rp 560 million (US$37.6 million) in relief funds. The amount might be increased to meet future needs for aid and infrastructure reconstruction.

Apart from the local administrations and BNPB, the team will comprise personnel from the military, police as well as relevant ministries and state institutions.

Many parties have also urged the government to immediately declare the Central Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami a national disaster due to the scale of devastation. As of Sunday, the BNPB had recorded that at least 832 people had died during the disaster.

Sutopo, however, dismissed such suggestions, saying that regional administration offices in the affected area were still intact. “Despite the damage, there are still safe areas.”

Earthquake explained 

Indonesia, which sits on the so-called Ring of Fire, is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. The 2017 national earthquake map revealed that the number of active faults across the nation has increased from 81 to 295 since 2010.

The Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation has said the deteriorating Palu-Koro fault had amplified the jolt of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that hit Donggala regency in Central Sulawesi.

The fault is a fracture in the earth’s crust that runs from the Makassar Strait to the northern part of the Boni Gulf in southern Sulawesi. It runs underneath Sulawesi Island.

The fault’s shift is believed to have triggered the major earthquake that struck on Friday.

“The geological map of Central Sulawesi is composed of rocks that are aged between 10,000 and 1 million years. But it fell into decay, causing the jolts to be stronger,” said the institution’s head of earthquake mitigation, Sri Hidayati, on Saturday.

Sri, who is involved in compiling the 2017 Indonesia Earthquake Map, said it was an active fault with a motion that ranged between 30 and 44 millimeters per year.

She added that the agency had sent the map of vulnerable land motion to local governments nationwide.

Sri suggested that local governments should utilize the geological maps as a reference point to implement policies regarding land utilization and spatial development, as well as the construction of earthquake-resistant infrastructures.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: ANN’s current Chairman is Mr Warren Fernandez, who is also Editor-in-Chief of The Straits Times, Singapore. He is the current President of the World Editors Forum.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Economics

China pledges international pandemic aid

 Producers of medical goods urged to meet demand from affected countries. China has pledged to do its best to offer aid to countries and international organisations affected by COVID-19 to help contain the outbreak, and businesses are being urged to boost production of epidemic prevention materials to meet demand from abroad. The announcement was made at a meeting of the leading group of China’s coronavirus response, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday. Relevant departments and local authorities must step up co-ordination to closely monitor and analyse the quick spread of the outbreak outside China and roll out more targeted measures to prevent the import and export of infection, the group said in a statement. It is important to further


By China Daily
March 13, 2020

Analysis, Economics

Back to work in Beijing, with tough measures in place

 Mandatory quarantine for those coming from overseas; some Wuhan businesses may reopen. As most of China attempts to return to normalcy after an extensive lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the capital Beijing has been carefully trying to strike a balance between having people restart work while also trying to keep out imported infections, and yesterday ordered a mandatory quarantine for all international arrivals. This comes as the Hubei government announced that some businesses in Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre, would gradually be allowed to reopen. On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, his first visit to the city since the outbreak, a sign that the crisis could finally be easing after the government’s toug


By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020

Analysis, Economics

Xi vows victory over coronavirus in Wuhan

President expresses condolences to families of people who died in epidemic. President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak remains the top priority and most important task, even amid the recent positive signs. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark during his inspection tour in the outbreak’s epicentre, Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. The spread of the novel coronavirus has been basically curbed in Hubei and Wuhan, Xi said, adding that initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan. Xi encouraged local residents and front-line worke


By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Analysis, Economics

China sets example in fighting virus

Epidemic reveals inadequacies in global governance; Beijing says it’s ready to help. China’s response to novel coronavirus pneumonia has set an example for the world in coping with the contagion and offered experience in advancing global public health governance, officials and experts said. The COVID-19 outbreak has also raised the alarm about global public health security and reminded countries that co-operation and co-ordination are needed to deal with challenges as infectious diseases can rapidly escalate into global emergencies, they said. There is a growing positive momentum in epidemic control nationwide thanks to the “comprehensive, thorough and rigorous” measures that China has taken to contain the virus, they said, noting that the daily


By China Daily
March 10, 2020

Analysis, Economics

More than 800,000 people return Beijing under quarantine

“There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. About 827,000 people who came back to Beijing from outside the city are still in a 14-day quarantine to see if they had been infected with the novel coronavirus, an official said on Friday. “There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. Z


By China Daily
March 9, 2020

Analysis, Economics

South Korea declares third city as special care zone as cases spike

President Moon receives letter of support from North Korean leader as infected cases cross 6,000. South Korea has declared a third city a “special care zone” to boost its capability to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, with cases nationwide soaring beyond 6,000. The death toll stands at 42, mostly the elderly with underlying health conditions, while 88 people have recovered, including 47 discharged yesterday. The care zone announcement came as the presidential Blue House revealed that South Korean President Moon Jae-in received a letter on Wednesday from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressing support and comfort to the people battling the coronavirus outbreak, adding that he is confident they will “prevail in this fight wit


By The Straits Times
March 6, 2020