Death Toll From Indonesia Earthquakes & Tsunami Reaches 1,944

| October 8 , 2018 , 14:58 IST

The death toll continued to rise from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia's central Sulawesi island on September 28, with the numbers reaching 1,944 deaths on Sunday, with another 2,549 people admitted in hospitals for medical treatment. Around 683 are believed to be missing, and another 152 are considered to be buried under debris.

According to the National Disaster Management Agency, most of the bodies were recovered from the provincial capital of Palu, followed by districts of Donggala, Sigi, Parigi Mountong and a district of Pasang Kayu in nearby West Sulawesi province.

"The search for the victims is expected to be completed on Thursday," an official said.

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Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster agency indicated that the death toll may rise considerably as there are 5,000 people who have not been found.

“Based on reports from the heads of Balaroa and Petobo, there are about 5,000 people who have not been found,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

“Nevertheless, officials there are still trying to confirm this and are gathering data. It is not easy to obtain the exact number of those trapped by landslides, or liquefaction, or mud,” he said.

The earthquake on September 28, estimated to be of 7.5 magnitude by the US Geological Survey, triggered a tsunami as well as a series of aftershocks that continued to hit the coastal city of Palu on Sulawesi island the next day, where many of the bodies were found.

Due to the earthquakes and tsunami, a total of 62,359 Indonesians were forced to flee from their homes, and take shelter in makeshift tents and under tarpaulins in 147 evacuation centres.

The situation in the severely damaged areas of central Sulawesi island is said to be increasingly desperate as people are running short of food, fuel and other essentials. In view of the damages, Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has authorized the acceptance of international help, with generators, heavy equipment and tents being high priority requirements.