Anger, dismay as Indonesia says search for quake victims to end

10 October, 2018, 14:00 | Author: Carlos George
  • Air Loadmaster Sergeant Daniel Swanson and Indonesian soldiers help offload supplies flown into Palu on an RNZAF Hercules

"She was wearing the exact scout uniform, with a sweater with the words "Geng 97", her father, Anwar, who like many Indonesian goes by only one name, told Reuters.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says 265 people are reportedly missing, though more may be buried under deep mud and the rubble of homes and buildings that have collapsed.

The city of Palu has been hardest hit. "But we must start again soon to keep their spirits up and so they don't fall behind", he said.

The official death toll has risen to 1,763 but bodies are still being recovered, at least 34 in one place alone on Saturday and more on Sunday.

While grappling with immediate relief needs, the government is also mapping out plans to help more than 70,000 people, including tens of thousands of children, who have been displaced by the disasters to rebuild their lives.

"Our Hercules was one of the first two foreign aircraft to deliver aid to Palu and Indonesian soldiers cheered as we offloaded the supplies yesterday".

Philip Besson, a member of the French organization Pompiers de l'urgence, said the team "detected the presence of a victim" in the wreckage of the Mercure Hotel but wasn't able to say if the person is conscious.

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.

Teams of Indonesian Red Cross workers set up warehouses and fanned out to distribute supplies across the region.

"There are so many corpses around here", said Irwan, 37, a resident of Petobo, standing amidst the ruins.

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A week after a major natural disaster brought devastation to Indonesia's Sulawesi island, Ichsan Hidayat told how the bodies of his sister and her 43-day-old daughter were found under a sea of mud and debris, the mother clutching her baby to her chest.

Authorities have yet to conduct a tally of casualties in Sirenja and the other districts near the epicenter north of Palu, but Lakuaci estimated dozens of people had been killed in the area.

Royal Australian Air Force Capt. Bryan Parker says the military transport plane will reach central Sulawesi late Thursday from Darwin.

A team of French rescue experts began hunting through a huge expanse of debris on the outskirts of the Indonesian city of Palu yesterday, looking for hands, feet or any body parts of quake victims sticking out of the mud.

Muhlis, whose uncle was still missing in Balaroa, said the missing and dead should be honoured respectfully.

Sulawesi is one of Indonesia's five main islands and, like the others, is exposed to frequent earthquakes and tsunamis.

But the trickle of global aid to Palu and local efforts to help the survivors have accelerated in recent days. They will help evacuate several injured patients waiting at the airport.

Febriani said her house was destroyed in the disaster.

Relief supplies from Japan, including tents and generators, have arrived at Indonesia's Sulawesi Island, which was devastated by a magnitude-7.5 natural disaster and tsunami on September 28th. The number of dead is expected to soar as rescue crews comb through affected areas after being slowed initially by broken, impassable roads and other damage.

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