Indonesia earthquake death toll surges

October 3, 2018

TEHRAN - The death toll from the devastating earthquake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia has reached 1,347, according to the country's disaster management agency, as rescue teams scramble to search for survivors.

Authorities and aid workers struggled to reach the affected areas to help the survivors, four days after the devastating earthquake struck Palu, a small city about 1,500km northeast of Jakarta, and other parts of Sulawesi Island, less than two months after a deadly earthquake struck Indonesia’s Lombok island.

Some remote areas have been largely cut off after Friday’s 7.5 quake triggered massive tsunami waves, destroying roads and bridges, and breaking all communication lines.

“The team is racing against time because it's already D+four,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, told reporters in Jakarta on Tuesday, referring to four days since the quake.

More than 65,000 homes have been damaged and at least 60,000 people have been displaced and are in need of emergency help, according to the government. About 1,700 homes in one Palu neighborhood were swallowed up, with hundreds of people believed buried, the national disaster agency said.

President Joko Widodo, who visited the region over the weekend, said there are many challenges hampering rescue efforts. He called for reinforcements in the search for survivors, saying everyone had to be found.

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