United Nations seeks $50.5 million for 'immediate' Indonesia disaster aid

Clay Curtis
October 9, 2018

The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi at 18:03 (10:03) on Friday at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles), setting off a tsunami that soon after engulfed Palu with waves of up to 6m.

According to the Government of Indonesia, the official death toll has reached almost 1,600 people, amid unconfirmed reports that more than 1,000 people have been buried in a housing complex, in the city of Palu, which suffered the full-force of the deadly tsunami wave.

He said that a further 5,000 people were suspected to be missing in the Palu subdistricts of Balaroa and Petobo but that officials were still looking to verify the claims.

Things are even more desperate in remoter areas.

More than a thousand people may still be missing in the seaside city of Palu, days after the quake struck.

In the Balaroa neighbourhood, also laid waste by liquefaction, the most intact structure was a battered two-storey house, pitched over at almost 45 degrees with one side buried and a blue vehicle in the auto port. Rescuers found about 25 bodies, laying them out in a row of blue and orange bags.

In 2004, a quake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

"It's sad to see our school like this", said Dewi Rahmawati, 17, who expects to graduate next year and wants to study economics at university.

In 2004, an quake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia. No one knows how many people are missing, especially in the areas hit by liquefaction, but it could be as high as 5,000, the national disaster agency said.

Dr Sutopo said the debris would be removed from those places and they would be turned into public spaces like parks and sports venues.

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"We don't want the community to be relocated to such risky places", Nugroho said.

"I'm still waiting for the Ministry of Education to give us instructions on when to begin classes. It would be a miracle to actually find someone still alive", he told AFP on Sunday.

The natural disaster triggered tsunami waves that reached six meters.

Numerous dead were buried in mass graves because of the overwhelming volume of victims.

The death toll in Indonesia rises to almost 1,600, following a major natural disaster and tsunami that devastated the country.

The Indonesian military will deliver the supplies to the quake victims.

The neighbourhood of Petobo, in the south of the city of Palu, where his sister, Husnul Hidayat, lived with her daughter, Aisah, was wiped out.

Indonesia has the world's biggest Muslim population but there are Christian communities throughout the archipelago, including in Palu.

In some areas, rescuers use sniffer dogs to detect victims buried under tons of mud and debris.

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