Death toll tops 1500 in Indonesia natural disaster and tsunami

Death toll tops 1500 in Indonesia natural disaster and tsunami

Relatives of hundreds of people missing after an quake and tsunami in Indonesia reacted with anger, sadness, and resignation on Sunday to a decision by the state disaster agency to end searches for bodies later this week.

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.

Hundreds of people are believed to be entombed in slowly drying mud that enveloped communities in the south of the small city of Palu when the quake triggered soil liquefaction, a phenomenon that turns the ground into a roiling quagmire.

Besson said the team was unable to reach the victim, who was trapped under thick concrete.

Local television reported that rescuers pulled out the bodies of the South Korean and an Indonesian from under the wreckage of the Roa Roa Hotel in the city of Palu, where most of the 1,424 deaths have been.

They are hoping more aid will arrive in the shattered city of Palu and the surrounding Donggala district on the island of Sulawesi.

The United Nations said Friday it was seeking $50.5 million "for immediate relief" to help victims of the devastating quake and tsunami in Indonesia.

Thousands of those still missing are thought to be from the towns of Baleroa and Petobo, which was swept away following the 7.5 magnitude natural disaster and subsequent tsunami last month, leaving mass destruction in its wake.

Rescuers who recovered the bodies told Hidayat his sister was found holding Aisah close.

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

Michael Lesmeister, director of Germany's ISAR-Germany rescue group, said landing permits for his staff and cargo had come through and, after a three-day wait, they were set to install a water-purification system in Palu.

While aid is finally reaching isolated communities in Indonesia, many Indonesians in Canada are finally finding out the fate of their family members in the disaster zone.

Air Loadmaster Sergeant Daniel Swanson and Indonesian soldiers help offload supplies flown into Palu on an RNZAF Hercules. Authorities have said villagers should only take food and that shops can be compensated later.

Nugroho said about 67,000 military and police have been deployed to the area to maintain security and accelerate distribution of aid to survivors in outlying areas.

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

Thousands of people living in tents and shelters in the Indonesian city hit by a powerful quake and tsunami are facing an uncertain future, unsure when they will be able to rebuild. "We have to be very careful to avoid contamination", Mr Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for Indonesia's search and rescue effort, told AFP.

The Hercules was one of the first foreign aircraft to deliver aid to Palu. The archipelago sees frequent earthquakes and occasional tsunamis. Figures for more remote areas, some just re-connected to the outside world by road, are trickling in.

The official toll has surpassed 1,400 deaths with thousands injured and 70,000 residents displaced.

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