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5.2 magnitude tremor hits Indonesia’s Palu city

Volunteers travelling with NGO Gift of the Givers described to Eyewitness News how they woke up to urgently evacuate their rooms and tents and run for safety.

Some of the damage in the Boloroa village. Household items are still visible in the rubble serving as a reminder that families once lived there. The quake shifted homes a few metres away from where they originally were and sunk at a nearly 4m deep. Picture: Ziyanda Ngcobo/EWN

PALU, Indonesia – Residents of Palu in Indonesia have experienced a rude awakening on Tuesday morning after a 5.2 magnitude tremor struck the city.

Volunteers travelling with NGO, Gift of the Givers, described to Eyewitness News how they woke up to urgently evacuate their rooms and tents and run for safety.

This tremor comes after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Sulawesi Island 10 days ago killing around 1,700 people.

The 5.2 magnitude tremor came as a climax after three mild aftershocks in the early hours of Tuesday.

Volunteer Graeme Holmquist says he just saw everyone rushing out of their rooms.

Another Malaysian volunteer, Nur-Hafiza Pakhurdin, who is travelling with her NGO KKB, says all she could think about in that moment was her family

Despite feeling a rush of fear during the few seconds of the tremor, the team is now even more determined to help those affected.

THURSDAY DEADLINE

Authorities in Indonesia are giving themselves until Thursday to find around 5,000 missing people before declaring them dead.

The army there is leading the disaster relief efforts and have applied strict rules on how international aid organisations should operate, restricting access unless working with a local NGO.

No foreign NGOs are allowed to go directly to the field and conduct any activity on the sites affected by the disaster without being monitored.

The Gift of the Givers team spent most of Monday assessing how it will work within the rules set by the Indonesian government.

Team leader Ahmad Bham said: “We need to register our team there with our local NGO. From there they’ll give us guidance on what we can and cannot do.”

One local resident Ayu Palintin shared what she felt on the day of the earthquake nearly ten days ago.
“I was very nervous and afraid when the earthquake happened.”

It’s understood the reasons behind the restrictions is because of the risk of the spread of disease and the aftershocks of the earthquake that can still be felt.