Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Further Australian support following the Sulawesi quake and tsunami

Further Australian support following the Sulawesi quake and tsunami

The national disaster agency said the confirmed death toll from last Friday's magnitude 7.5 quake increased slightly to 1,571.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said many more people could be buried, especially in the Palu neighbourhoods of Petobo and Balaroa, where more than 3,000 homes were damaged or sucked into deep mud when the September 28 quake caused loose soil to liquefy.

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Min Kapala, a 49-year-old teacher, said she came to the city of more than 25 churches from an outlying area because her usual house of worship was destroyed and liquefaction moved a different piece of ground to its location.

"Based on reports from the (village) heads of Balaroa and Petobo, there are about 5,000 people who have not been found", agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters yesterday.

Rescuers picking through the grim aftermath of Indonesia's quake-tsunami issued a fresh public health warning Saturday as more decaying corpses were unearthed from beneath the ruined city of Palu.

National police spokesman Brigadier General Dedi Prasetyo said security will be ramped up to ensure law and order after 92 people were arrested for looting goods such as motor oil, tyres and farming equipment.

More than 82,000 military and civilian personnel, as well as volunteers, are on the ground while Indonesian army choppers are undertaking supply runs to remote areas blocked off by the disaster.

"An 11-truck convoy will depart from Makassar carrying about 83,000 litres of water, in 19-litre plastic jugs that can be reused by the people in the area", IOM spokesperson Paul Dillon said, adding the convoy was bound for Donggala.

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Indonesian soldiers unloading supplies brought in by the New Zealanders. Many hundreds of people are now entombed in slowly drying mud churned with heaps of debris and vehicles.

Indonesian police say 92 people have been arrested for looting goods in areas devastated by an natural disaster and tsunami in Central Sulawesi province.

Indonesia's disaster agency said the death toll had climbed to 1649, with at least 265 people still missing, although it said that number could be higher.

A floating hospital run by the Indonesian navy and docked in Palu has already assisted with the delivery of four babies, local media reported. "They deserve better", Hidayat told Reuters as he left Friday prayers at a mosque in the centre of Palu, 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.

Traumatised survivors are desperate for help.

Flight Lieutenant Dave Natapu said he'd rarely witnessed desolation like he saw in Palu from the air.

The country's disaster agency announced the search for survivors would end Thursday, despite fears that scores of people still remain buried under heaps of rubble and mud.

Several non-governmental groups were also arriving.

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