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Indonesia Tsunami Kills Over 800, Death Toll Expected To Hit 'Thousands'

Tsunami Video
Source: Getty Images

Oct. 1 2018, Published 2:01 p.m. ET

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More than 800 people are dead after a magnitude 7.5 earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami in Indonesia over the weekend, and horrific video shows the moment the waves struck.

Search and rescue teams continue to scour through the wreckage in the city of Palu, where the streets are scattered with bodies covered in blue and yellow tarps. However, the area is largely cut off by damaged roads and downed electric lines.

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"The death toll is believed to be still increasing since many bodies were still under the wreckage, while many have not been reached," rescue agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told AP, adding that the massive burial site has been excavated for "health reasons."

"The ground rose up like a spine and suddenly fell," local resident Nur Indah said. Deadly waves that followed reached heights of 20 feet.

"Many people were trapped and buried under collapsed houses. I could do nothing to help. In the evening, some of them turned on their cellphones just to give a sign that they were there. But the lights were off later and the next day," Nur Indah said.

Currently, Indonesia disaster agency said that all of the victims accounted for are from Palu, whose population exceeds 380,000. The outer areas of Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Moutong — which have a combined population of 1.2 million — have not been assessed yet.

The tsunami is the latest natural disaster to hit Indonesia. In 2004, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake off Sumatra island in Western Indonesia killed more than 230,000.

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