Death toll in Indonesia continues to rise after quake, tsunami

Cheryl Sanders
October 2, 2018

"The scale of the damage from the quake and tsunami is huge and there are fears many people are trapped under collapsed buildings like hotels and supermarkets".

The Indonesian government on Monday appealed for global aid to deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

Indonesian volunteers dug mass graves for more than 1,000 bodies on Monday after a quake and tsunami devastated swathes of Sulawesi, as authorities - struggling to deal with the sheer scale of the disaster - appealed for global help.

Mass graves have already been prepared to bury hundreds of bodies, according to AFP. "We have anticipated it by providing food, rice, but it was not enough".

With hospitals damaged, injured people have been treated in the open and at least one military field hospital has been set up.

As the disaster is gulping down more lives, Indonesian President President Joko Widodo has demanded NGOs and foreign agencies to lend their hand so that the disaster could be tackled and damage could be reduced to the extent possible.

"We suspect there are still some survivors trapped inside", the head of one rescue team, Agus Haryono, said at the collapsed seven-storey Hotel Roa Roa.

Around 50,000 people have been displaced by the twin disaster, with many still trying to escape the devastated region.

Indonesias examine the damage to houses in the Balaroa village in Palu, in Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province, on October 1, 2018. Some survivors outside of Palu are intercepting aid trucks to plunder supplies and other essentials as aid begins to trickle in, according to the Post.

The government of Indonesia has requested global assistance after a powerful 7.4 magnitude quake hit Central Sulawesi on September 28.

"We have not eaten in three days", she says.

Adi told AFP he was hugging his wife by the beach in Palu when the tsunami struck, and has not seen her since. He has no idea where she is now, or whether she is alive.

Desperation exploded into anger in Donggala, the town closest to the epicentre of the massive natural disaster and tsunami, with residents begging Indonesia's president to help them as hungry survivors crawled into stores and grabbed boxes of food.

"We don't know how many casualties there are at the complex", said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the national disaster agency spokesman.

But for some, the search yields only sorrow as they trudge around open-air morgues, where the dead lay in the baking sun - waiting to be claimed, waiting to be named.

The situation in outlying areas was even less clear.

"Humanitarian groups are struggling to get people into affected areas", she said.

Since the first few initial days of search and rescue have passed, aid agencies are now coordinating with the government to provide residents with food and hygiene kits, along with tarpaulins, blankets and mats for temporary shelters.

Save The Children program director Tom Howells said access was a "huge issue" hampering relief efforts. The impact washed away Palu's 300-meter (328 yard) double-arched bridge, plunging cars into the water.

Numerous victims were buried by mud because of "liquefaction", which occurs when the shaking from an quake causes water-logged sediment to temporarily lose strength and act as a fluid. Roads were blocked and communications disrupted with other cities.

Indonesia, one of the world's most disaster-prone countries, lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide and numerous world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

Adding to the anguish was a report by a German research center that developed a warning system used by Indonesia that the tsunami alert to some residents of Sulawesi failed after the quake hit on Friday.

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