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Three dead, International Monetary Fund summit shaken as strong quake hits Indonesia

14 October 2018

"The search and rescue (SAR) operation for the victims will end this Thursday afternoon", SAR field director in Palu, Mr Bambang Suryo, told AFP.

Kalla and Guterres visited Balaroa, where the force of the magnitude 7.5 quake liquefied soft soil and tore apart neighborhoods, and the coastal area of Talise, which was devastated by the tsunami.

As health workers struggled to prevent the spread of diarrhea among the 74,000 people displaced by the disasters, a new quake with a magnitude 5.2 rocked Palu, the city that bore the brunt of last month's temblor, officials said.

These next few days, the prayers should be held in three of the towns most affected around Palu: Balaroa, Petobo and Jono Oge.

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"People are traumatized. They don't want to go back" to those places, Nugroho said.

"There seemed to be - I won't say red-tape - but it was just like, "you can't work here, you can't do this, you can't do that". But none of those compare with the 2004 tsunami that killed some 226,000 people in 13 countries, more than 120,000 of them in Indonesia alone.

Foreign aid poured into the ravaged city of Palu where authorities believe 5,000 people could be missing and 200,000 survivors desperately need food, water and other life-saving supplies. These include blocked roads to more remote parts of Donggala; the risk of landslides and further land liquefaction; bureaucratic restraints such as the ban on global aid staff in the disaster zone; and a bottleneck at Palu airport. Approximately 80,000 displaced persons shelter in makeshift shelters near their destroyed homes.

But earlier this week foreign aid workers were told to withdraw their personnel, frustrating some groups keen to help out on the ground. Nugroho said there's no need for global aid other than the four priorities identified by Indonesia - tents, water treatment units, generators and transport.

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Our country, Nigeria and most of the African continent is not sitting on continental plates that make it prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, but we have natural disasters of our own.

With power and communications knocked out in Palu, there was no hope of warning people through text messages or sirens that tsunami waves of up to six meters (20 feet) were racing towards the city.

On Dec. 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.1 quake struck the eastern coast of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that killed around 230,000 people as it tore along the coasts of Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

A string of earthquakes in Lombok in eastern Indonesia killed more than 550 people over the summer.

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After making a rare appeal for worldwide assistance, Indonesia is now trying to limit foreign involvement in the disaster relief effort.

Three dead, International Monetary Fund summit shaken as strong quake hits Indonesia