Waves of up to 2m (6.6ft) high swept through Palu on Sulawesi island.
It has also been noted that these figures only included the city of Palu, and that there are other affected coastal regions where communications are still down. Here's the video.The natural disaster and resultant tsunami has left 38 people dead, with the death toll expected to rise. Most victims were hit by debris and falling blocks of concretes.
Wee added that the only Filipino in the area - a detainee serving his sentence at the Lapas Penitentiary - is safe.
"We have not received comprehensive reports yet because communications are cut".
"The tsunami didn't come by itself, it dragged cars, logs, houses, it hit everything on land", Nugroho said.
The tremor triggered a tsunami that hit beaches in the cities of Palu and Donggala, officials said.
The Jakarta Post reported that Hercules aircraft was deployed to provide disaster relief in Palu.
Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo tweeted late on Friday evening: "At sunset an quake hit Central Sulawesi and surroundings".
Indonesia's meteorological and geophysics agency BMKG issued a tsunami warning after the quake, but lifted it 34 minutes later. To make things even worse, Palu's airport has a cracked runway and a damaged control tower. "People ran out in panic".
Rescuers from Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) move bodies of the victims at Wina beach.
Ismail said he was surprised that a tsunami was generated off the coast of central Sulawesi, which sits on a strike-slip fault, producing earthquakes that typically move in a horizontal motion and do not usually displace large amounts of water.
The nearby city of Donggala and the town of Mamuju were also ravaged by the magnitude 7.5 natural disaster and tsunami but had not yet been reached by aid due to damaged roads and disrupted telecommunications.
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Strong aftershocks continued to rock the city on Saturday morning after waves of up to two metres high swept through it triggered by a 7.5 magnitude quake on land.
Harrowing video showed waves of water bringing down several buildings and inundating a large mosque.
Thousands were displaced after a series of powerful earthquakes, which triggered a tsunami too, struck Central Sulawesi in Indonesia on Friday.
Photographs of many more dead bodies are also being circulated on social media.
Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said Friday night that he had instructed the security minister to coordinate the government's response to the disaster.
Hundreds of people were injured and hospitals, damaged by the quake, were overwhelmed.
"There are 30 dead at our hospital".
The main tremor struck at 6:02 p.m. local time Friday evening (6:02 a.m. EDT) about 35 miles northeast of Donggala, Indonesia - a town of about 300,000 - according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Indonesian officials braced Saturday for a swiftly rising death toll following an quake and tsunami that hit the island of Sulawesi the day before, sweeping away buildings and burying its victims under collapsed rubble.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago with about 17,500 islands, is part of the Ring of Fire, an area susceptible to earthquakes and volcanic activity.
Dramatic videos show rising waves smashing into buildings and people screaming and running away in fear.