Indonesia urges calm, warns against fake reports on quake

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Jakarta, Oct 9 (IANS) Indonesian authorities on Tuesday urged for calm, while warning people against fake online reports of another moderate temblor, accompanied by images of earlier disasters, that created panic in the country.

The warning came after another 5.2-magnitude quake hit the Sulawesi Island where a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on September 28 killed nearly 2,000 people, while 5,000 remain missing, reports Efe news.

National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo in a statement asked people to only trust official sources of information.

Tuesday’s earthquake had struck 5 km northeast of Palu, the city most affected by the September 28 earthquake which was followed by a tsunami with waves higher than 9.8 feet.

The provisional death toll in the Sulawesi quake currently stands at 1,944 after mudslides, giant waves and collapsed buildings wreaked havoc in the area, while around 75,000 people have been displaced from their homes.

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Search and rescue efforts are continuing in areas worst affected by the earthquake, especially in Palu’s Balaroa and Petobo districts, where up to 5,000 people could be still buried under the rubble, although the official count of missing people stands at 835.

According to the BNPB, water, power and fuel supply has been restored in major parts of the island and banks and markets have opened in recent days.

The Sulawesi quake and tsunami were the worst to have struck the country after the 2004 tsunami that had swept off the Aceh regency, in the west of the archipelago, leaving 167,000 people dead.

–IANS

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