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Church yields bodies as Indonesia toll expected to rise

02 October 2018

A magnitude 7.4 natural disaster centered near central Sulawesi, Indonesia also created a deadly tsunami.

The Department of Foreign Affairs initially reported that the said Filipino was safe, but Orcine said their latest information was that "all of the detainees escaped because the building was destroyed by the quake and the tsunami".

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency, told the BBC that the tsunami detector buoys - 21 floating devices connected to deep-sea sensors - weren't working.

"We'll send as much food supplies as possible today with Hercules planes, directly from Jakarta", he said, referring to C-130 military transport aircraft.

These include Australia, the United States, Morocco, South Korea, the European Union, China, Singapore, Turkey, the Philippines, Switzerland, France, the Czech Republic, Norway, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Japan and India, among others.

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

The Indonesian military is leading the rescue effort, but following an appeal for global help by the president, NGOs also have teams on the ground in Palu.

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President Joko Widodo visited Palu on Sunday, inspecting the large-scale damage and consoling survivors.

About 1,700 houses in one Palu neighbourhood were swallowed up, with hundreds of people believed buried, the national disaster agency said.

The country's vice president said the death toll is expected to rise into the thousands as rescue operations continue.

Wiranto said Indonesia carefully selects which global aid to accept, with special focus on countries that have made offers and which have the capacity to provide timely assistance in Central Sulawesi. Other roads around the city were damaged by the natural disaster or blocked by ensuing landslides.

Indonesian authorities have revealed that because of the sheer numbers of bodies being process in Palu, as each is identified it will be temporarily interred in a mass grave to stop the outbreak of disease.

"I could see my father still embracing my sister", Setiwan said Monday, recounting the devastating moment he found the pair entombed in mud near their home in the Indonesian city of Palu. A local television station reported that around 3,000 Palu residents had flocked to the local airport trying to get out but were not able.

Elsewhere in Palu, workers continued to search for survivors from a collapsed shopping mall.

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Of particular concern is Donggala, a region of about 300,000 residents north of Palu that is close to the epicenter of the quake, which triggered a tsunami with waves as high as 20 feet.

Two people have been plucked from the 80-room Hotel Roa-Roa, Indonesia's search and rescue agency said, and there could still be more alive. The three areas have a combined population of about 1.4 million.

He added 144 foreign nationals were in Palu and Donggala during the natural disaster and tsunami.

Search and rescue workers evacuate an quake and tsunami survivor trapped in a collapsed restaurant, in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Adding to the anguish was a report by a German research center that developed a warning system used by Indonesia that the tsunami alert to some residents of Sulawesi failed after the quake hit on Friday.

But undeterred, more and more mopeds arrived, depositing people in front of the store.

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Church yields bodies as Indonesia toll expected to rise