The Indonesian government on Tuesday said the death toll from a devastating quake-tsunami on the island of Sulawesi had risen to 1,234 people, up from the previous count of 844. The grave in Palu, a hard-hit city in Central Sulawesi province, was prepared for more than 300 bodies initially.
As of now, . the confirmed death toll stands well in excess of 800, . and that figure is expected to rise.
The strong 7.5-magnitude quake struck Friday, toppling buildings and sending walls of seawater crashing into Palu, a city of about 350,000.
A magnitude 7.4 quake centered near central Sulawesi, Indonesiaalso created a deadly tsunami.
"There are still hundreds of victims buried in mud", said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia's National Agency for Disaster Management, according to the Associated Press.
"It's OK if he's buried in the mass grave, it's better to have him buried fast", she said. The announcement came as survivors in the stricken city of Palu grow increasingly desperate for water, food and essential supplies.
Desperate survivors, now facing a third straight night sleeping outdoors, turned to looting shops for basics like food, water and fuel as police looked on, unwilling or unable to intervene.
Unicef is appealing for US$5 million (S$6.8 million) to provide health and educational services and has highlighted the dire need for ready-to-eat meals, water and sanitation materials, basic healthcare items, medicines and female hygiene kits. "We have anticipated it by providing food, rice, but it was not enough".
Widjo Kongko, a tsunami expert with the country's technology agency, also described the patchy early-warning system. He has no idea where she is now, or whether she is alive.
"I was so happy, so emotional - thank god I could see her again", Azwan told AFP. "I was carried about 50 metres".
"I just cried", he said.
Others have focused their search for loved ones around open-air morgues, where the dead lay in the baking sun - waiting to be claimed, waiting to be named.
The Indonesian military is leading the rescue effort, but following a reluctant acceptance of help by President Joko Widodo, worldwide NGOs also have teams on the ground in Palu.
People survey the damage following a massive quake and tsunami at Talise beach in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018.
The situation in outlying areas was even less clear.
The death toll in Indonesia has reached 844 following the devastating natural disaster last week, with thousands more still trapped under rubble or missing. Residents are still anxious about aftershocks and are afraid to return home, said Soesatyo.
"When it shook really hard, we all ran up into the hills", a man identified as Iswan told the TV.
Save The Children program director Tom Howells said access was a "huge issue" hampering relief efforts.
"But we could not do (anything) to help them", he said.
President Widodo authorized the acceptance of global help, Nugroho said Monday, adding that generators, heavy equipment and tents were among the most-needed items.
One of the guests at the hotel was a 39-year-old South Korean national, according to the South Korean embassy in Indonesia.
Satellite imagery provided by regional relief teams showed severe damage at some of the area's major ports, with large ships tossed onto land and quays and bridges trashed. Roads were blocked and communications disrupted with other cities. A majority of Indonesians are Muslim, and burials customarily take place within one day. Nugroho, bemoaning a fall in funding, said none of Indonesia's tsunami buoys, one type of instrument used to detect the waves, had been operating since 2012.
Indonesia is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
The AP reports that the joint project this month is the first to remove landmines from border areas since the early 2000s. The United Nations Command supervises the DMZ, which is almost 250 kilometers long, and has troops stationed there.
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