Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Time running out as Indonesia toll tops 1,400

Image    Where the village of Petobo once stood it is now a muddy wasteland Image Where the village of Petobo once stood it is now a muddy wasteland
Leonard Rios | 07 October, 2018, 15:44

A French rescue team said Thursday it has detected a possible sign of life under the rubble of a hotel in Indonesia's central Sulawesi, almost a week after it was hit by a powerful natural disaster and tsunami.

The death toll from Friday's 7.5 magnitude natural disaster that spawned a tsunami has risen to 1,558, with scores more believed buried in deep mud and under debris of collapsed buildings and homes.

A total of 1,424 people have been confirmed dead and over 2,500 injured after the monster natural disaster struck Friday sending destructive waves barrelling into Sulawesi island.

Not far away, rescuers were using small flags to mark the location of bodies found in the debris.

Rescuers were digging through several feet of mud looking for survivors in the Palu area on Friday, one week after a 7.5-magnitude natural disaster and tsunami hit the region.

The quake and tsunami which struck the area on Friday which has left over 1,400 people dead.

Worldwide volunteers said many camps lack adequate sanitation, sparking fears of the spread of disease.

Landing slots at Palu airport are snapped up by the Indonesian military, although it was expected to be open to commercial flights from 7:59am today. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said this week it had to be repaired and properly maintained. "There is no such thing as looting", he said on a visit to Palu.

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After days of delays, global aid is slowly making its way to the disaster zone, where the United Nations says nearly 200,000 people need humanitarian assistance. Desperate search efforts for survivors continued on Wednesday.

But the Sulawesi tsunami was "atypical" and could not have been simulated, said Girardet, of the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) in Bangkok.

"We will be working with Indonesian authorities and our global partners to provide an air bridge between Balikpapan and Palu and help bring aid supplies to where they are needed most".

Catastrophe bonds and the support of International Monetary Fund and World Bank entities could help Indonesia to put in place a funding mechanism that provides liquidity immediately after disaster strike, while the insurance and reinsurance market could help the government protect its own balance-sheet and buffer taxpayers.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by a lack of heavy machinery, severed transport links and the scale of the damage.

Indonesia's military chief says soldiers and other forces have been deployed to the stricken port city of Palu to guard key infrastructure, fuel depots and the airport and stop any attempts at looting. We, too, need food, ' " McCarthy said.

Indonesia and its 18,000 islands are located along the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire" and are frequently struck by natural disaster, volcano and tsunami activity.

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