Two M’sians evacuated from quake-hit Sulawesi

JAKARTA: Two Malaysians were among 61 foreign nationals reported to be in Central Sulawesi when the province was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on Friday.

Indonesian National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) head of data information and public relations Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said both of them were evacuated safely from the area.

“Sixty-one foreign nationals were in Central Sulawesi when the disaster struck. All of them were reported safe, except one South Korean citizen who is reportedly still trapped under the collapsed Roa Roa Hotel in Palu City,” he said.

Malaysian Embassy deputy head of mission Zamshari Shaharan said one of the Malay­sians, known only as Dr Farah, had been taken to Palu airport to return to Malaysia, while the other had just been evacuated from the disaster area.

“The Malaysian Embassy, however, has yet to get detailed information on their identity due to communication problems,’’ he added.

According to BNPB, as at noon yesterday, the death toll had risen to 832 and a total of 209 aftershocks of magnitudes between 2.9 and 6.2 had been recorded in Central Sulawesi since the 7.5-magnitude quake rocked the bay city of Palu and Donggala, triggering a tsunami.

Sutopo said the death toll was expected to rise as efforts to rescue the victims trapped under the rubble was hampered by damaged and inaccessible roads, communication breakdown and power blackouts.

Mutiara SIS Al Jufri Airport in Palu also resumed operations manually yesterday. — Bernama