More than 800 people have died in Indonesia after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated portions of the string of islands, The Associated Press reported Monday morning.
The 7.5-magnitude quake struck Palu on Sept. 28, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The small island appears to be the hardest hit in the region, though officials expect the death toll to balloon as other areas are assessed.
The island chain is situated near a volatile area where earthquakes are common. (RELATED: Massive Tsunami Crashes Into Indonesia And Kills 400, More Victims Expected)
Drive through Palu, Indonesia, shows aftermath of massive earthquake and devastating tsunami that left at least 840 people dead. https://t.co/nUsCyDZzrW pic.twitter.com/Po4H39SdGC
— ABC News (@ABC) October 1, 2018
Indonesia is a vast archipelago that lies at the margins of the Pacific Ocean where an intersection of large layers of the Earth’s crust causes frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The eastern part of the archipelago sits atop numerous smaller blocks called microplates. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake occurred within one of these smaller plates.
Officials worry the death toll will be enormous. In 2004, for instance, a massive 9.1-magnitude earthquake and the resultant tsunami hit Sumatra, according to the USGS, killing more than 200,000.
They are doing their level best to limit the carnage. Aid and supplies are being flown in by military and commercial aircraft, but the damage in other areas near the earthquake’s epicenter was uncertain, AP reported.
One witness recounted how violently his hotel shook during the quake. “There was no time to save ourselves,” he told reporters, noting that he does not yet know what happened to his wife and children.
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