Jakarta (September 30, 2018): The death toll from a powerful earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia has risen to 832 on Sunday.
The new toll announced by the national disaster agency was almost double the previous figure. Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla said the final number of dead could be in the “thousands.”In Palu city on Sunday aid was trickling in, the Indonesian military had been deployed and search-and-rescue workers were doggedly combing the rubble for survivors — looking for as many as 150 people at one upscale hotel alone.
“We managed to pull out a woman alive from the Hotel Roa-Roa last night,” Muhammad Syaugi, head of the national search and rescue agency, told the journalists. “We even heard people calling for help there yesterday.”
“What we now desperately need is heavy machinery to clear the rubble. I have my staff on the ground, but it’s impossible just to rely on their strength alone to clear this.”There were also concerns over the whereabouts of hundreds of people who had been preparing for a beach festival when the 7.5-magnitude quake struck Friday, sparking a tsunami that ripped apart the city’s coastline.
Amid the levelled trees, overturned cars, concertinaed homes and flotsam tossed up to 50 metres inland, survivors and rescuers struggled to come to grips with the scale of the disaster.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo was expected to travel to the region to see the devastation for himself on today.Earlier on September 29, more than 400 people had been killed when a powerful quake sent a tsunami barrelling into the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, officials said Saturday, as hospitals struggled to cope with hundreds of injured and rescuers scrambled to reach the stricken region.
The national disaster agency put the official death toll so far at 384, all of them in the tsunami-struck city of Palu, but warned the toll was likely to rise.
Some 540 people were badly injured, it added.In the city — home to around 350,000 people — partially covered bodies lay on the ground near the shore, the day after tsunami waves 1.5 metres (five feet) came ashore.
There were also concerns over the whereabouts of hundreds of people preparing for a beach festival that had been due to start Friday evening, the disaster agency said.
Hospitals were overwhelmed by the influx of injured, with many people being treated in the open air, while other survivors helped to retrieve the remains of those who died.One man was seen carrying the muddy corpse of a small child.
The tsunami was triggered by a strong quake that brought down buildings and sent locals fleeing for higher ground as a churning wall of water crashed into Palu, where there were widespread power blackouts.