Saturday, 20 October, 2018


Further Australian support following the Sulawesi quake and tsunami

Indonesia-Sulawesi-Earthquake-Tsunami-Volcano-October 3-2018 NZDF evacuates 120 quake survivors on Hercules aircraft from Palu
Bennie Garza | 10 October, 2018, 03:15

Indonesia's disaster agency says the death toll from the quake and tsunami that struck the Sulawesi island last week has risen to 1,649.

The 7.5 magnitude quake on September 28 brought down many buildings in the small city on Sulawesi island, 1,500 km (30 miles) northeast of Jakarta, while tsunami waves smashed into its beachfront.

No one knows how many people were dragged to their deaths when the quake triggered soil liquefaction, a phenomenon that turns the ground into a roiling quagmire.

He said the survivors, many of whom had slept outdoors for days, queued to get into the Hercules aircraft.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a briefing in Jakarta some limited searching might continue but large-scale searches with many personnel and heavy equipment would cease on October 11.

Officials fear at least 5,000 people may still be missing in Indonesia following a deadly quake and tsunami that killed 1,763 people and devastated the northern island of Sulawesi.

"Most of the victims were found in Palu and they were hit by tsunami, particularly in the coastal areas near Talise beach", the spokesman said.

His wife and two daughters have swept away in the tsunami that hit Palu's seafront after the quake.

Things are even more desperate in remoter areas. To help them, $15 million has already been released from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

"Most of the bodies we have found are not intact, and that poses a danger for the rescuers".

Aid is continuing to pour into hard-hit areas of Indonesia's Sulawesi island, which has been rattled by some 450 aftershocks since an natural disaster and tsunami struck just over a week ago.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 11 transport aircraft have been pledged, including two each from Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Malaysia, and one from India.

But the trickle of global aid to Palu and local efforts to help the survivors have accelerated in recent days.

In a rare move, Indonesia's government has appealed for global help to cope with the tragedy unfolding on Sulawesi island.

"What is the benefit for us Indonesian people, especially in this time of catastrophe", Fadli Zon, deputy speaker of parliament from the opposition Gerindra party, said on Twitter, taking issue with government spending on the meeting.

Military officials said Palu's airport is expected to reopen for civilian traffic later on Thursday.

Two of his soldiers emerge from the ditch with the body bag sagging in the middle but looking too light to be a corpse - they say they found the heads of two adults and one child.

Indonesia has the world's biggest Muslim population but also pockets of Christians, including on Sulawesi, and other religions. Taiwan's Tzu Chi Foundation sent a 10-person team consisting of doctors and nurses from Jakarta with more to arrive later.

Wiranto, who uses one name, said heavy equipment cannot operate in such areas because they could potentially sink in the soft mud.

The official death toll rose to 1,948 and bodies are still being recovered. The archipelago sees frequent earthquakes and occasional tsunamis.

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