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UN seeks $50.5 million for 'immediate' Indonesia disaster aid

UN seeks $50.5 million for 'immediate' Indonesia disaster aid”

The death toll from multiple quakes and a tsunami in Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province had risen to 1,424, an official said on Thursday.

Indonesia's disaster agency says the death toll from the quake and tsunami that struck a central island last week has increased slightly to 1,424.

Bodies are still being recovered from the ruins of buildings in the small city of Palu and from neighborhoods hit by liquefaction, a phenomenon that turns the ground into a roiling quagmire, in the south of city.

"We're going to clear off all the superficial rubble that's on top and get into the spaces and see if there are bodies", Mr Allibert told Reuters as he surveyed a awful jumble of debris.

Hoax warnings have proliferated since the magnitude 7.5 quake and tsunami on Friday, and the national disaster agency has asked people to only rely on credible sources of information.

He said on local television that survivors in the outlying villages in Petobo, Balaroa and Jono Oge could be relocated and monuments be built in the areas, which now look like wastelands, to remember the victims interred there.

The Aid or access is still an obstacle to reach the stricken communities on Indonesian island of Sulawesi, UN aid agencies said on Friday.

The tens of thousands left homeless by the disaster are scattered across Palu and beyond, many squatting outside their ruined homes or bunkered down in makeshift camps and entirely dependent on handouts to survive.

"Once we got everyone on board, you know these guys have lost a lot, they've lost houses and lost family members, so to see them smile and give a thumbs up as we took off was a really proud moment for the guys".

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Homes were sucked into the earth, torn apart and shunted hundreds of metres by the churning mud.

"If a victim is not found after 14 days, then they will be declared missing", he said.

"It might take four to five months to remove all the soil, and that's with the excavators", he said.

Officially, 683 people remain missing, though some put that figure far higher. Traumatised survivors are desperate for any help. "She was wearing the exact scout uniform, with a sweater with the words "Geng 97", her father, Anwar, who like many Indonesian goes by only one name, told Reuters. "Where are they? What if they are still alive? We tried everything and have no response", said Philippe Besson, president of the International Emergency Firefighters team.

In the Balaroa neighbourhood of Palu, rescuers found 34 bodies on Saturday, and laid them out in a row of blue and orange bags, among them 10-year-old Dede Aulianisa. One man, Nizar, said he had identified six relatives among them.

Indonesian police say 92 people have been arrested for looting goods in areas devastated by an quake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi province.

Despite that, Allibert said it had been hard to get permits for Sulawesi. "I fully get it, they don't want anyone to come in", he said.

Sergeant Syafaruddin, from an army unit in Makassar south of Palu, asked for a body bag to be brought to a spot near where the remnants of an Islamic school now stands.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir told a briefing in Jakarta ministries were coordinating to facilitate the arrival of aid. Officials have listed tents, water treatment equipment, electric generators and disinfectants to fog campsite areas to prevent disease as immediate needs.



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