Indonesia tsunami: Whole villages swallowed by mud in Palu

Indonesia tsunami: Whole villages swallowed by mud in Palu

The quake in Central Sulawesi set off a tsunami and devastated several communities. "Operation Samudra Maitri" for humanitarian assistance was launched after a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo on October 1, and following Indonesia's acceptance of global aid, the MEA said in a statement.

Anger and desperation among traumatized residents of Palu appeared to be simmering, with some outbreaks of looting. "We don't know for sure", he said. "There is no food, no water".

He also said it was important to resume economic activity, so that the people can return to their daily lives soon.

The casualty count from last Friday's 7.4-magnitude quake, which triggered a deadly tsunami, has been mounting. Area hospitals are overwhelmed. Hundreds of victims are still believed to be buried in the mud there.

According to the agency, almost 1,350 dead bodies are found on the island of Sulawesi, and it is fearfully still growing as the day comes by.

The eruption would not affect planes transporting aid and supplies to the quake disaster areas, Nugroho said.

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Widodo, who will seek re-election next year, called on Tuesday for reinforcements in the search for victims, saying everyone had to be found. "I've instructed the governor to recommend the markets to be re-opened, we want to start reviving the economy".

A massive natural disaster off Sumatra island in 2004 caused a tsunami that killed 230,000 people around the region, the majority of them in the Indonesian province of Aceh.

A man named Heruwanto said he was happy while clutching a box of instant noodles.

The 7.5-magnitude quake last Friday triggered tsunami waves as high as six meters (20 feet), which swept ashore at the small city of Palu and Donggala town on the west coast of Sulawesi.

Media reports quoting disaster management officials said that the toll has risen to 1347 on Wednesday from Tuesday's figure of 844.

"There is debris and rubbish everywhere, and it's hard for families to maintain hygiene standards, quite apart from getting access to food and clean drinking water for children and babies".

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The government has said it would accept offers of global aid, after shunning outside help earlier this year when an quake struck Lombok island.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters in Washington: "We will be working very closely with the Indonesian government to make sure that the support we are providing is highly targeted".

"It's OK if he's buried in the mass grave, it's better to have him buried fast", said Rosmawati Yahya, 52, whose husband was among those placed in the grave, before heading off to look for her missing daughter.

Also problematic has been a lack of heavy equipment for rescue workers and food, water and shelter for some 70,000 displaced people.

"The ground below us suddenly moved like a blender and crushed our feet", he said. Indonesian government officials say they have agreed for 17 of them to provide assistance.

He says the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs has asked the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, to send social workers to the affected area to support children who are alone or became separated from their families.

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