Masjid Baiturrahman in Jalan Diponegoro was leveled by tsunami. NSTP/MOHD JAMILUL ANBIA MD DENIN

PALU: The earthquake and tsunami which hit Sulawesi Tengah on Friday had seen numerous mosques suffering great damages, with most of them are no longer occupiable.

The writer took a trip around the district to check out the extent of the destruction and found over 20 mosques along the 10km sea shore between Palu and Panawa, Donggala affected by the natural disaster.

Mosques and houses, or what was left of them, were bare with rubbish and wood planks scattered around the buildings.

The smell of blood permeated the air as the writer walked past the rubbles at the disaster area especially Masjid Baiturrahman on Jalan Diponegoro which was leveled by the tsunami.

One of the mosque congregation, Janauri Kecak, 42, said the main mosque in Palu toppled, along with its minaret, after being hit by a five-metre wave.

He said during the incident, azan (call for prayer) for Maghrib had just been recited when a huge tsunami wave appeared right after the quake.

“At the time, I was with my friends, including Suyanto, Paribu and Darmawan in the mosque. Suyanto had just finished sunat prayer (performed before Maghrib prayer).

“Sea water flooded the mosque, violently carrying away my friends and some other people. Suyanto managed to hold on to a piece of wood and was rescued albeit suffering serious injuries as his leg got trapped in the structure,” he said when met.

Some people, he said, were not so lucky and died during the tragedy.

“Some perished while others suffered heavy injuries. Blood stains are everywhere and you can still catch a whiff of the unpleasant scent as you walk around the area.

Caretaker of Masjid Jaam’i, Desa Tolase, Anwar showing the cracked pillar, among the damages suffered by the buildin. NSTP/MOHD JAMILUL ANBIA MD DENIN

“Damaged cars and motorcycles were abandoned by the owners,” he said. Meanwhile, siak (caretaker) of mosque Jaam’i in Desa Tosale, Anwar Lagambok, 63, said the quake and tsunami had damaged the six building’s pillars.

He said the tragedy struck as he was reciting azan at the mosque which at the time has a congregate of 10 people.

“The earthquake caused us to lose balance and stumbled over. We dashed out of the mosque to the nearest open area to save ourselves. “This was the most powerful earthquake I have ever experienced in my life,” he said.

The disaster also saw the iconic Palu floating mosque washed to the sea, rendering it inoperable.

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