5000 still missing in Indonesia tsunami

October 8, 2018

TEHRAN - The devastating earthquake in Indonesia has left trails of death and destruction. About 5,000 people are still missing, feared death, a week after the earthquake and tsunami struck the island of Sulawesi.

The official death toll stands at 1,944 but officials believe that when casualties from two of the hardest-hit areas of Palu – Balaroa and Petobo – are determined, that number could almost triple, and even cross 5,000.

“That number is expected to rise, because we have not received orders to halt the search for bodies,” local military spokesman M. Thohir, who is also a member of the government's official Palu quake taskforce, was quoted saying by AFP.

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.

The agency said the official search for the unaccounted would continue until October 11 after which they would be listed as missing, presumed dead.

President Joko Widodo, who visited the region over the weekend, was earlier quoted saying that 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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