According to Indonesian authorities, the death toll on Tuesday rose to 1,234 in the 7.5-magnitude natural disaster and subsequent tsunami that hit Sulawesi island last week.
Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) is facing heavy scrutiny in the aftermath of the disaster, The Guardian reports. Dead bodies covered by tarps lay in the city’s streets, exposed to Indonesia’s blistering heat, as rescuers searched rubble for survivors buried in crumpled buildings.
Authorities are desperate to stave off any disease outbreak caused by decomposing bodies and have announced a 14-day state of emergency.
After a 7-point-5 magnitude quake struck the area on Friday, .it triggered tsunami waves as high as six meters. The impact washed away Palu’s 300-meter (328 yard) double-arched bridge, plunging cars into the water.
Palu on Aug 17, 2018, before a tsunami hit the area. “We can’t find food, and we’re trying to fill ourselves through ready-made pasta sent through aid”, he said. “We need field hospitals, medical workers, medicines and blankets”. The city was at the head of a long, narrow bay, and the tsunami that smashed into it was moving around 800 kilometres an hour as it approached land and has been reported to have been up to 6 metres high.
Fuel shortage was affecting power generators, which were now the only source of electricity in the city and were also being used for emergency communication. Officials fear the final number of deaths could be in the thousands.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday called up Indonesian President Joko Widodo and offered assistance to the tsunami-hit country.
Survivors say that supplies are not getting through and that they have been forced to loot from shops. Some Palu residents started returning to their homes to salvage usable items.
The UN has estimated that over 50 000 people have been displaced and are living in camps or temporary shelters – some have no homes to go back to, and some are too scared to return to a roofed residence as powerful aftershocks continue.
Hundreds of people were lined up for fuel at gas stations across Palu, with waiting cars snarling traffic.
Authorities said on Tuesday that the death toll rose to 1,200.
“It’s OK if he’s buried in the mass grave, it’s better to have him buried fast”, said Rosmawati Binti Yahya, 52, whose husband was among those placed in the grave, before heading off to look for her missing daughter.
Some of the convicts were jailed for corruption and narcotics offences, she said.
Chief Security Minister Wiranto told the press that due to the quake and tsunami about 60000 Indonesian people were “displaced”.