Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Girl scout among 34 dead found in Indonesian quake quagmire

Girl scout among 34 dead found in Indonesian quake quagmire

The death toll from the natural disaster and tsunami that struck Indonesia's Sulawesi island has risen to 1,763, with more than 5,000 feared missing.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says officials are trying to confirm the number still missing in several villages obliterated when the quake caused loose soil to liquefy, sucking houses into deep mud and burying occupants.

Australia is providing additional support to Indonesia in the wake of the devastating quake and tsunami which struck Sulawesi on 28 September.

Indonesian man chat on top of the rubble at Petobo neighbourhood, which was wiped out by earthquake-triggered tsunami, in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018.

"They are in great need because the road is cut off and it's accessible only by air", Second Lieutenant Reinaldo Apri said after piloting a helicopter to rugged Lindu district, some 40 kilometres south of Palu.

He said: "Based on reports from village chiefs in Balaroa and Petobo, some 5,000 people have not been found".

PALU, Indonesia- Rescuers picking through the grim aftermath of Indonesia's quake-tsunami issued a fresh public health warning Saturday as more decaying corpses were unearthed from beneath the ruined city of Palu.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi says military transport aircraft from India and Singapore have arrived to help in relief efforts in central Sulawesi, which was hit by a powerful quake and tsunami.

Among them was 39-year-old Rudy Rahman, who said the bodies of his 18- and 16-year-old sons had been found. They said they had clean water and noodles but not much else.

Royal Australian Air Force Capt. Bryan Parker says the military transport plane will reach central Sulawesi late Thursday from Darwin.

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Indonesia had been reluctant to accept outside help at first but as the scale of the disaster became clear, the government agreed to allow in foreign aid.

Indonesian soldiers unloading supplies brought in by the New Zealanders.

The Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected.

The official toll hit 1,948, mostly in the hard-hit city of Palu, said Jamaluddin, an official from the disaster task force who uses one name.

Sick of waiting for help, villagers themselves have been searching, Hasnah said.

In a rare move, Indonesia's government has appealed for global help to cope with the tragedy unfolding on Sulawesi island. "They deserve better", Hidayat told Reuters as he left Friday prayers at a mosque in the centre of Palu, 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.

A floating hospital run by the Indonesian navy and docked in Palu has already assisted with the delivery of four babies, local media reported. Traumatised survivors are desperate for any help.

Officials reiterated that the search is expected to end on Thursday.

The city of Palu has been hardest hit.

Indonesia has the world's biggest Muslim population but also pockets of Christians, including on Sulawesi, and other religions.

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