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Natural disaster strikes Bali as ASEAN leaders gather for meeting

12 October 2018

According to a report in Channel NewsAsia, the quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10km.

"The national search and rescue agency will handover its task to the Palu city search and rescue agency and they will continue the work", National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Nugroho said.

During a relief brief he said the efforts to retrieve bodies, many entombed under mud and rubble as deep as 3 metres (10 feet), will cease due to the difficulties presented by the terrain and the, unfortunate advanced state of decomposition that make the bodies unrecognisable and could cause contamination, putting more health and safety at risk.

In 2004, a quake off the north Indonesia island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Most of the bodies have been found in the seaside city of Palu, on the west coast of Sulawesi island, 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of the capital, Jakarta.

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The quakes and the tsunami have affected a total of 87,725 people, with 78,994 of them taking shelter in Central Sulawesi province, while the rest have engaged in an exodus to nearby provinces, he added. He added that the damage from the quake was minor.

"Wow, that was really strong and it lasted a long time", said a woman named Davy who took refuge in the parking lot of a Bali hotel, several kilometres from where the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are holding their annual meetings this week. Over 19,000 delegates and guests are present, including Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

In Bali, residents describing strong tremors.

"A tsunami threat exists for parts of the Pacific located closer to the natural disaster", the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said, adding that the waves were forecast to be under 30 centimetres for the coasts of Papua New Guinea and the nearby Solomon Islands.

It said "the natural disaster was felt quite strongly by people in Sumenep and Situbondo for 2-5 seconds".

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Almost 88,000 people were displaced and many living in crude shelters in the hills around Palu.

He said it will take two years for the region to rebuild and recover.

In East Java, three people were crushed to death in their sleep when the quake brought down buildings in Sumenep district and sent people fleeing their homes.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre oceanographer David Walsh said any tsunami from the quake would only affect areas immediately around the epicentre.

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Natural disaster strikes Bali as ASEAN leaders gather for meeting