Indonesia quake, tsunami confirmed death toll rises to 1,234

Charlene Craig
October 2, 2018

Rescuers are still searching for survivors four days after an quake and tsunami killed hundreds of people and destroyed thousands of homes in Palu, an island of fishermen and farmers in central Indonesia.

Hundreds of people were lined up for fuel at gas stations across Palu, with waiting cars snarling traffic.

One of them, Adi, was hugging his wife by the beach when the tsunami struck on Friday. I've been waiting for two days.

Donggala's administration head Kasman Lassa said residents should take only food staples from shops.

"We face many obstacles", said Sutopo Nugroho, spokesperson for the Indonesian Disaster and Mitigation Agency, at a media briefing Monday. The quake and resulting tsunami has killed more than 800 people.

The d‌e‌at‌h toll is expected to climb as thousands more are fe‌ar‌ed to be b‌uri‌ed under the mud after the qua‌ke, The Sun reports. Authorities have urged them to return within one week. The main airport at Palu was damaged, landslides had cut off key roads while "power is out nearly everywhere", she added. Roads and bridges were destroyed.

Indonesia, home to 260 million people, is one of the world's most disaster-prone nations. They made it out alive, but not all were so lucky.

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"There are a lot of offers from other countries to help the disaster in Palu, of course, we appreciate the requests", said Wiranto, citing the need to keep up good bilateral relations with many countries.

At least 50 people alone are believed trapped beneath the ruins of the city's Hotel Roa Roa.

Aerial images showed the eight-floor building completely collapsed, and video posted by Nugroho to Twitter showed orange-clad responders carrying an individual on a stretcher through the rubble. All were accounted for except one Belgian, one South Korean and six French. The man had been in the region for a paragliding competition.

He said 114 foreigners were in Palu and Donggala during the disaster.

Chief security minister Wiranto said on Monday the government was trying to meet survivors' immediate needs and would accept offers of worldwide help.

Satellite imagery provided by regional relief teams showed severe damage at some of the area's major ports, with large ships tossed on land, quays and bridges trashed and shipping containers thrown around.

Aid has trickled into the city of Palu, but first responders have only recently reached the Donggala regency, home to more than 300,000 people.

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Survivors walk on a damaged street outside Palu in Indonesia's Central Sulawesi on October 2, 2018, after an quake and tsunami hit the area on September 28.

All of the victims, who will be brought from hospital, have been photographed so their families can find where they have been buried.

"Many of these children will have experienced unimaginable trauma and distress, seeing things no child should ever to have to see - losing their mother or father, and watching everything they have known washed away", said charity organisation Save the Children's Program Implementation Director Tom Howells in a statement.

President Joko Widodo "authorised us to accept worldwide help for urgent disaster-response" the government's head of investment Tom Lembong said, as dozens of aid agencies and NGOs lined up to provide live-saving assistance and the government struggled to come to terms with the sheer scale of the disaster.

Widodo has authorized the country to request global aid relief.

The local airport has been cleared to receive humanitarian and commercial flights, but so far the landing slots have been taken up by Indonesia's powerful military, which is staging its own assistance efforts.

Bambang Soesatyo, speaker of the People's Representative Council and a member of Golkar Party, told reporters Sunday the government needs to increase the scale of relief operations in the affected area.

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