Thursday 15 November 2018

Death toll in Indonesian earthquake and tsunami rises to 832

People survey the damage of the shopping mall following earthquakes and a tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
People survey the damage of the shopping mall following earthquakes and a tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
The damage after an earthquake is seen in Palu, Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia September 30, 2018 in this still image taken from aerial drone video.
The damage after an earthquake is seen in Palu, Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia September 30, 2018 in this still image taken from aerial drone video.
A pile of debris is seen at a shopping mall damaged following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
People carry items looted from a shopping mall badly damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
People search through debris in a residential area following an earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
People survey damage outside the shopping mall following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Indonesia's disaster agency has said the death toll from an earthquake and tsunami that devastated part of the island of Sulawesi has climbed to 832.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of the national disaster mitigation agency, told a news conference on Sunday that 821 of those killed were in the city of Palu. He said another 11 people were killed in the town of Donggala.

A pile of debris is seen at a shopping mall damaged following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
A pile of debris is seen at a shopping mall damaged following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

He said access to Donggala, as well as the towns of Sigi and Boutong, is still limited and there are no comprehensive reports from those areas.

He said: "The death is believed to be still increasing since many bodies were still under the wreckage while many have not able to be reached."

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake spawned the deadly tsunami on Friday evening.

 

Rescuers are scrambling to reach trapped victims while looters risked entering an unstable shopping centre to grab whatever they could find.

People could still be heard calling out from the eight-storey Roa-Roa Hotel which collapsed as the disasters swept through the city, said Muhammad Syaugi, the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency.

People survey damage outside the shopping mall following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
People survey damage outside the shopping mall following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

"I can still hear the voices of the survivors screaming for help while inspecting the compound," he told local online news portal Detik.com, adding there could be 50 people trapped inside.

Aid and supplies are being sent in via military and commercial aircraft, including helicopters, to reach badly affected areas.

TV footage showed images of destroyed houses in Donggala and areas that were once land now inundated with water. Aerial video also showed the battered coastline surrounding Palu.

Looters were stealing from a badly damaged shopping centre in Palu that was not being guarded. They did not appear to be concerned about their safety, despite ongoing aftershocks and the structure's questionable stability.

A pile of debris is seen at a shopping mall damaged following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
A pile of debris is seen at a shopping mall damaged following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

Residents were also seen returning to their destroyed homes, picking through waterlogged belongings, trying to salvage anything they could find.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said "tens to hundreds" of people were taking part in a beach festival in Palu when the tsunami struck at dusk on Friday.

Hundreds of people were injured and hospitals damaged by the quake were overwhelmed.

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is set to visit the area later on Sunday.

Press Association

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