An earthquake Magnitude 7.4 Mw occurred in Central Sulawesi on September 28, 2018 has caused severe damages in Palu and Donggala. The two major cities were severely damaged by three process, namely earthquake, tsunami, and soil liquefaction. Until the present, the cause of the tsunami is still unknown. Massive liquefaction also caused damages that have never seen in modern history of Indonesia. These has puzzled many tsunami scientists including tsunami researchers at Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center (TDMRC) of Syiah Kuala University. To understand the impacts on the cities and on its people, a survey team has been sent to Palu and Donggala on October 12, 2018.
Our research members from TDMRC of Syiah Kuala University (supported by PEER USAID-NAS #5-395) have been in Palu for about a week (since October 12, 2018), 2 weeks after the September 28 earthquake and tsunami in Palu-Central Sulawesi. The team is led by Dr. Benazir with three other members. The team managed to collect some scientific evidence, showing some impacts of the tsunami and earthquake. However, one of the most important questions that is ‘the source of the un-estimated tsunami’ is still at large. One of the most probable answers is submarine landslide tsunami. However, we have no proof at hand so far at this moment.
In the area, the team collected tsunami flow depths, sediment properties, and building damages data. Some of the flow depths could reach about 5.5 m around the Palu coast. This is far from numerical simulation results assuming the tsunami was generated by the earthquake with strike-slip focal mechanism.
The team also found the most severe affected area is Palu. Meanwhile, other area along the right and left hand sides of Palu Bay have shown less impacts due to the tsunami. There are a number of unanswered questions when this report released. TDMRC team will work with other researchers to know in more details about this disaster. The findings of this survey could help a better tsunami mitigation in the future.
The team spent one week for the first survey around Palu and Donggala. Second mission of the survey will be dispatched by the December 2018. The team also use a mobile application to map the damages of houses due to the disaster. The mobile application was pioneered by Dr. Yunita Idris.
The activities are supported by Partnership Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) sponsored by USAID and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicines of United States (NASEM) under research grant No. 5-395 with the title: “Incorporating climate change induced sea level rise information into coastal cities’ preparedness toward coastal hazards”.The Principal Investigator of this research is Dr. Syamsidik from Tsunami Research Cluster of TDMRC of Syiah Kuala University.
A short Video of from the Survey: