Natural disaster jolts central Sulawesi in Indonesia

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A photo from a 6.1-magnitude natural disaster that hit Donggala, Indonesia hours before a 7.5 quake struck the region.

Communications with the area are hard because power and telecommunications are cut, hampering search and rescue efforts.

The main tremor struck at 6:02 p.m. local time Friday evening (6:02 a.m. EDT) about 50 miles north of Palu, Indonesia, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The tsunami struck at the height of between 0.5 meters up and 3 meters, the head of the meteorology and geophysics agency Dwikorita Karnawati, told a press conference. He said the agency was still collecting information and would release it after confirming its accuracy.

Mobile phone footage circulating on social media shows a wave of around two metres height hitting the Indonesian island of Palu after the second of two earthquakes rocked Indonesia.

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Terrifying footage has emerged of a tsunami crashing into the coastline of Indonesia after a 7.5 magnitude quake.

But disaster agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told News.com.au that people are encouraged to remain vigilant.

An earlier 6.1 magnitude quake destroyed some houses, killing one person and injuring at least 10, authorities said.

The extent of damage remains unknown but several people have been reported missing.

"All the things in my house were swaying", another Donggala resident, Mohammad Fikri, said of the earlier 6.1 quake.

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A tsunami in 2004, triggered by an natural disaster off the island of Sumatra, killed more than 120,000 Indonesians and 226,000 people across the Indian Ocean.

Indonesia is prone to quake as it lies on a vulnerable quake-affected area popularly known as "the Pacific Ring of Fire".

A 9.1-magnitude natural disaster, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, struck off the west coast of Sumatra in December 2004, unleashing a massive tsunami that struck scores of countries and killed almost 230,000 people.

Sutopo said the military would deploy troops to Palu and Donggala and the national police would mobilise officers to help with the emergency response.

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