Indonesian quake and tsunami devastates coast, many victims

A department store building is seen heavily damaged by earthquake in Palu Central Sulawesi Indonesia Saturday Sept. 29 2018. The powerful earthqu

A department store building is seen heavily damaged by earthquake in Palu Central Sulawesi Indonesia Saturday Sept. 29 2018. The powerful earthqu

Authorities have still not been able to reach the city of Donggala north of Palu which is home to 300,000 and close to the epicentre of the quake.

"The death toll is believed to be still increasing, since many bodies were still under the wreckage, while many have not been reached", said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

"We will start the mass burial of victims, to avoid the spread of disease".

Rescuers in Indonesia were scrambling Sunday to reach trapped victims screaming for help from collapsed buildings, while looters risked entering an unstable shopping mall to grab whatever they could find after a massive quake spawned a tsunami that left more than 800 dead.

"When the wave came, I lost her", he said.

Some waterfront homes appeared crushed but a resident said most people fled to higher ground after the quake struck.

Scores of residents shouted "we're hungry, we need food" as soldiers distributed rations from a truck in one neighborhood, while elsewhere television showed pictures of people making off with clothes and other items from a wrecked mall.

"Record everything taken, inventorise it". "We have to do many things soon, but conditions do not allow us to do so".

At least 384 people were killed, many swept away as giant waves crashed onto beaches, when a major natural disaster and tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, authorities said on Saturday. Like countless others he has no idea where she is now, or whether she is alive. "The water was spinning me around", he said.

"I last spoke to him before he went to school in the morning".

Others have centred their search around open-air morgues, where the dead lay in the baking sun - waiting to be claimed.

Joko "Jokowi" Widodo also told reporters in his hometown of Solo that he had called on the country's military chief to help with search and rescue efforts.

A man stands amid the damage caused by a tsunami in Palu Central Sulawesi Indonesia Saturday Sept. 29 2018. A powerful earthquake rocked the Indo
A man stands amid the damage caused by a tsunami in Palu Central Sulawesi Indonesia Saturday Sept. 29 2018. A powerful earthquake rocked the Indo

But disaster agency spokesman Nugroho indicated sheer power of will may not be enough.

But four days on some remote areas have yet to be contacted, medicines are running out and rescuers are struggling with a shortage of heavy equipment to reach desperate victims calling out from the ruins of collapsed buildings.

As dire as the situation in Palu is, it was at least clear.

Most of the confirmed deaths were in Palu itself, and authorities are bracing for the toll to climb as connections with outlying areas are restored.

"The death toll is believed to be still increasing, since many bodies were still under the wreckage, while many have not been reached", he told The Associated Press on September 30.

TV footage showed images of destroyed houses in Donggala and areas that were once land now inundated with water.

Hundreds of people were injured and hospitals damaged by the quake were overwhelmed.

"When it shook really hard, we all ran up into the hills", a man identified as Iswan said.

People transfer a body at a hospital in Palu in Central Sulawesi province, Indonesia, Sept. 30, 2018.

Save The Children programme director Tom Howells said access was a "huge issue" hampering relief efforts.

Indonesia's disaster agency has said the death toll from an quake and tsunami that devastated part of the island of Sulawesi has climbed to 832.

The national disaster agency put the official death toll so far at 384, all of them in the tsunami-struck city of Palu, but warned the toll was likely to rise. A lot of them had been accounted for, but one South Korean was believed to be trapped in the ruins of the Roa-Roa Hotel, while three others from France and one from Malaysia were missing.

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