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Satellite timelapse – Palu devastated by land liquefaction

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by The Jakarta Post – Asia News Network

The earthquake and tsunami caused enough damage in Palu. But few people have seen or understand the process of liquefaction, here caught on satellite in a time lapse.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNBP) spokesperson in Indonesia, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, overseeing the relief and rescue efforts in Sulawesi, shared a time-lapse of satellite imagery on his Instagram account. It shows how liquefaction of the soil devastated neighborhoods on September 28 in Palu, Central Sulawesi.

“The process of soil liquefaction in Petobo Housing Complex, Palu, using WordView satellite imaging. Houses and buildings were swept away and sunk into mud that appeared due to the earthquake,” he posted in Indonesian on @sutopopurwo.

“The search and rescue team is working to recover bodies in this area. Victims continue to be found,” he added.

A tsunami and soil liquefaction followed the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that shook Palu and other parts of north-western Sulawesi in Indonesia.

Soil liquefaction, a geological process by which the soil structure collapses, is relatively unknown among the Indonesian public, including survivors and witnesses of the disaster. The Jakarta Post correspondent Ruslan Sangadji reported that on the morning after the quake, survivors referred to the phenomenon as “land tsunami”.

Witnesses said the “mud” rolled like ocean waves. Houses in Petobo shifted as much as 700 meters from their original locations. Yahdi Basma, a Central Sulawesi councilor, whose two-story house moved 700 meters and was partially submerged in the liquefied soil, said the “mud” also dragged coconut trees a few hundred meters. However, he said, the trees were still alive.

 

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