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Video shows tsunami hitting Indonesian city after 7.5-magnitude quake

The earthquake happened near Sulawesi. File pic

It's not known if they had time to escape the tsunami.

Amateur footage shown by local TV stations, which could not immediately be confirmed by Reuters, showed waters crashing into houses along Palu's shoreline.

An official with Akris, the local disaster agency, said that many houses collapsed due to the powerful evening quake.

The video comes as officials have confirmed a tsunami of up to two metres hit the city after a powerful quake rocked central Sulawesi.

The Jakarta Post could not independently verify the authenticity of the video, but a Google Maps search of the Palu Grand Mall and Baiturrahman Mosque resulted in images that match the landscape and landmarks shown in the video.

He said houses were swept away and families were reported missing.

"The cut to telecommunications and darkness are hampering efforts to obtain information", he said.

People in Central Sulawesi and West Sulawesi provinces were only then told to evacuate to higher ground.

"All national potential will be deployed, and tomorrow morning we will deploy Hercules and helicopters to provide assistance in tsunami-affected areas", he said.

Palu, hit by a 6.2 magnitude quake in 2005 which killed one person, is a tourist resort at the end of a narrow bay famous for its beaches and water sports.

The Palu area was hit by a less powerful quake earlier on Friday, which destroyed some houses, killed one person and injured at least 10 in the fishing town of Donggala, closest to the epicentre, authorities said.

Rahmat Triyono, head of the agency s quake and tsunami division, later confirmed the city was struck by a freak wave.

Shortly after, authorities issued a tsunami warning - which was lifted within about an hour.

Daniel Lipson, an ABC Australia reporter, tweeted the video, saying: "Indonesia geophysics agency says Sulawesi quake caused a tsunami".

"We advise people to remain in safe areas".

Nugroho has said that essential aircraft can land at Palu airport's though AirNav, which oversees aircraft navigation, said the runway is cracked and the control tower damaged.

Mr Rahmat Triyono, who leads the natural disaster and tsunami centre at the BMKG, said the agency continues to monitor aftershocks, which already reached 31 as of 10pm in Palu.

"It was so strong".

The jolts were felt strongly in Sirenja sub-district of Dongala district, triggering panic and forcing folks to rush outside their houses.

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