Ayu Palintin felt her a car shake violently when the 7.5 earthquake hit Palu last Friday. Picture: Sihle Mlambo

Palu - Ayu Palintin felt her a car shake violently when the 7.5 earthquake hit Palu last Friday. 

Palintin, 34, was driving home with her niece Brigitte Livan, 5, when they noticed the street lights shaking after the car jerked.

“I felt 'No, no, no - this is an earthquake, this is not the trouble of my car,'” she said.

Soon after realising what was going on, she grabbed her niece's hand, hugged her tight and ran for the open fields.

“I forgot to switch off the car, we run and tried to find the field for safety,” she said.

Since the earthquake hit, Palintin said they had been evacuated from their homes and we're staying in shelters around the airport. 

As one comes into the city of Palu through the airport, there are hundreds of tents outside the airport where those displaced are being kept. 

“I feel a bit calm because today there is no small earthquake,” she said.

It was the first time Palintin had experienced a tsunami, and it was her second big earthquake having after the one that struck the city of Palu in 2004.

Another Palu resident, Ferry Rita, 62, who is a language and culture lecturer at the University of Tadulako, said the earthquake was scary for his family which consists of his wife, two children, two grandchildren and a nephew.

“In 2004, I lived in Makassar, but this is the worst one in my life,” he said, adding he has experienced several earthquakes in Indonesia and in Japan.

Ahmed Bahm, the head of search and rescue and team leader for the Gift of the Givers’ Indonesian mission, said the team of 25 would begin efforts towards search and rescue, medical and humanitarian on Monday. 

He said there was still a massive need for primary healthcare, water and shelter.

* Cash contributions to assist the victims of the disaster can be deposited into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account No. 052278611, Branch Code 057525. 

Please send deposit slip to [email protected] for acknowledgement.

Sunday Tribune