More Than 840 Dead in Indonesia after Deadly Earthquake and Tsunami

Geraldine Edwards
October 2, 2018

Over 844 people have been confirmed dead after a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.5 quake slammed into Indonesia's coastline on the island of Sulawesi, causing thousands of homes to collapse, along with hospitals, hotels and shopping centers.

Rescue personnel prepare the bodies of quake victims at the compound of a police hospital in Palu, Indonesia's Central Sulawesi on October 1, 2018, after an natural disaster and tsunami hit the area on September 28.

People stand outside the airport in Palu on Monday.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the death toll could rise into the thousands.

Rescuers raced against the clock and a lack of equipment to save those still trapped in the rubble, with up to 60 people feared to be underneath one Palu hotel alone.

The country's President Joko Widodo (r) visited the island and pledged to rebuild the city.

"The evacuation is not finished yet".

Save The Children program director Tom Howells said access was a "huge issue" hampering relief efforts.

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Lembong's announcement came as mass graves were being readied for the hundreds of victims and as authorities battled to stave off disease and reach desperate people still trapped under shattered buildings.

Since the first few initial days of search and rescue have passed, aid agencies are now coordinating with the government to provide residents with food and hygiene kits, along with tarpaulins, blankets and mats for temporary shelters.

"There has been no aid, we need to eat".

The death toll from an quake and tsunami in Indonesia soared to 832 confirmed dead on Sunday, with authorities fearing it will only climb as rescuers struggle to reach outlying communities cut off from communications and help.

The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach areas that lost power and communication following the natural disaster. These three areas have a combined population of 1.2 million people, and as such, the total of deaths is predicted to increase. Officials had estimated about 50 people could be inside.

"It's devastating", she told Reuters.

A ship is seen stranded on the shore in Wani, Donggala, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia on October 1.

Rescuers discovered the bodies of 34 students buried in the landslide, Indonesia Red Cross spokeswoman Aulia Arriani told AFP news agency on Tuesday.

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The bodies of 34 Indonesian students have been found under a church which was buried by a mudslide after the quake in Palu, say aid workers.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation but there are small pockets of religious minorities, including Christians, across the archipelago.

The ruins would be rebuilt, Widodo said, as aftershocks continued to rattle the region.

Pictures showed expanses of splintered wood, washed-up cars and trees mashed together, with rooftops and roads split.

Damage to the Mutiara Sis Al-Jufri airport is seen in Palu on Sunday.

The lone Filipino in Central Sulawesi is one of over 800 people missing after a 7.4 magnitude quake and tsunami hit the area on Friday, the Philippine consul general in Indonesia said.

A Reuters witness said queues at petrol stations on the approaches to Palu stretched for kilometres.

The power company was working to restore electricity while the state oil firm had sent in fuel, officials said.

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