Published: Wed, October 03, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Dozens of students found dead in church after Indonesia natural disaster

Dozens of students found dead in church after Indonesia natural disaster

Some 1,200 Indonesian convicts escaped from three different detention facilities in the devastated region of Sulawesi following an quake and tsunami disaster, a justice ministry official said on Monday.

The 7.5 magnitude quake struck on Friday, creating a tsunami that swept waves ashore as high as 20ft (6m) in some places.

Most of the confirmed deaths were in Palu, a city of about 380,000, but that toll looked certain to rise as rescuers reached devastated outlying communities.

The Red Cross said the situation was "nightmarish" and reports from its workers venturing into one cut-off area, Donggala, a region of 300,000 people north of Palu and close to the epicenter, indicated it had been hit "extremely hard". The three areas have a combined population of over one million people.The region was struck by at least one moderate aftershock on Tuesday.

"Right now, we need emergency aid", Wiranto said, referring to the foreign aid that would be airlifted to Palu, 1,500 km northeast of Jakarta.

"My volunteers found 34 bodies", Arriani said, "children who had been doing a bible camp".

Another body was pulled out from the ruins of the 80-room Hotel Roa-Roa where more than 50 people were feared trapped.

A Filipino detained in Palu City is one of 800 people still missing after a tsunami hit the Indonesia island of Sulawesi, the consul general said Monday.

Residents who found loved ones - alive and dead - over the weekend expressed frustration that it took rescue teams until Monday to reach Petobo.

Almost 50,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Palu alone, Nugroho said, and hospitals were overwhelmed. Indonesia is located on the Ring of Fire, an area of high seismic activity that borders the Pacific Ocean, meaning earthquakes are common and there's no telling when the next one will hit - just two months ago a major one hit near the city of Lombok, and killed hundreds.

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The National Disaster Mitigation Agency, BNPB have been trying their best to offer food and shelter to the displaced people.

On the outskirts of Palu, bodies were brought for burial by lorries. "My house is destroyed and I can't even give him his own funeral", said Rosmawati Binti Yahya, 52, whose husband was among those placed in the grave.

On Monday 153 of the dead were buried in a mass grave as authorities tried to get resources to the survivors.

A woman walks past the wreckage of cars which was flattened by Friday's natural disaster in Balaroa neighborhood in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.

Video posted online of the earthquake's aftermath shows a tsunami rushing through buildings and knocking down trees, as people scream for help.

Indonesian Red Cross spokeswoman Aulia Arriani told Reuters that a church in an area of Sigi, south of Palu, had been engulfed in mud and debris.

A navy vessel capable of taking 1,000 people at a time was due to be deployed to help with the evacuation.

"We're strengthening our team in Makassar to respond to this and we're also sending a team in from Jakarta", says Yohanes Baskoro, programme manager with Caritas Indonesia, locally known as KARINA.

Teams of police were out on the streets on Tuesday, clearing debris and providing some reassurance to traumatized residents anxious about looting.

The tsunami also washed out Sulawesi's roads and bridges, and wrecked the island's airport, hindering efforts to deliver relief supplies.

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