Published: Thu, October 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

More confirmed dead in Indonesia quake tragedy

More confirmed dead in Indonesia quake tragedy

The confirmed death toll from an quake and tsunami on Indonesia's Sulawesi island has risen to 1,234, from 844, the national disaster mitigation agency said on Tuesday.

The devastating natural disaster of 7.5 magnitude wreak-havoced in the Palu city of Indonesia's Sulawesi island last week and relief teams are trying to rescue people. "The closest reliable fuel points are hours from the affected area, and that will hamper reaching more distant communities and transporting relief goods", Suryani said.

Indonesia's disaster response agency warned the death toll could climb higher as the affected area on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is bigger than initially thought.

While most of the deceased have been found in Palu, home to more than 380,000 people, there are fears thousands more could be dead in areas rescuers have yet to access.

The authorities have said they will begin burying victims in mass graves, fearing disease could begin spread.

Teams were searching for trapped survivors under destroyed homes and buildings in the city of Palu, including a collapsed eight-storey hotel in the city, but they needed more heavy equipment to clear the rubble. At least 50 people alone are believed trapped beneath the ruins of the city's Hotel Roa Roa.

Rescuers discovered the bodies of 34 students buried in the landslide, Indonesia Red Cross spokeswoman Aulia Arriani told AFP news agency on Tuesday.

Three of the victims were recovered alive.

Almost 60,000 people have been displaced and are in need of emergency help, while thousands have been streaming out of stricken areas. "If you look at the entire warning chain from the creation of a warning signal up to the last mile, as we call it, up to the local population in danger, there was a problem there", he said.

Aftershocks have rattled jangled nerves.

A particular horror in several areas in and around Palu was liquefaction, which happens when soil shaken by an quake behaves like a liquid. About 3,000 residents flocked to the airport Monday in hopes of catching a military cargo plane or a rare commercial airline to take them off the island.

Officials said that they required more volunteers, more supplies of water and rice that could be distributed at different points in the town, instead of in one place. Officials said the area suffered liquefaction, when the shock of the quake temporarily destabilizes the soil.

Sulawesi is one of the archipelago nation's five main islands.

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