Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Indonesian soldiers told to shoot looters in disaster-struck Sulawesi

Body bags after Indonesia disaster Image His body is buried with others in a sandy pit
Gerardo Duncan | 08 October, 2018, 12:42

Search and rescue operations are underway with more rescuers and equipment joining the mission, spokesman of the national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

The small city of 370,000 people has been the focus of the aid effort launched after last Friday's 7.5 magnitude quake and tsunami on the west coast of Sulawesi island. He said security will be necessary for economic activity to resume. He spoke as numerous city and region's residents scrambled to get food, water and other supplies — with many resorting to taking things from shops and markets.

The military would deploy three battalions to the two cities to ensure the security of stores and mini markets, so that people can buy food and groceries. He said search and rescue missions are being carried out according to plans, supported by heavy duty vehicles.

Thousands of people living in tents and shelters in the Indonesian city hit by a powerful quake and tsunami are facing an uncertain future, unsure when they will be able to rebuild.

But the death toll, now above 1,500 hundred is still expected to climb.

Widodo, who faces re-election next year, insisted the military and the police were in full control.

"We hope the death toll does not rise", he said.

One week since the quake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and still mothers, fathers, siblings, are grieving for lost loved ones they'll likely never find.

A man named Heruwanto said he was happy while clutching a box of instant noodles.

Orderly queues formed at petrol stations after the arrival of fuel shipments and late in the day, traffic lights and televisions flickered back to life as the power came back on.

Thousands of others were injured and more than 70,000 people have been moved to shelters and makeshift tents that have sprouted across Palu, the provincial capital that's home to 380,000 people, and its surrounding areas. Communications are down and bridges and roads have been destroyed or blocked by slips.

The official death toll reached 1,234, while scores of uncounted bodies could be buried in collapsed buildings.

Nearly 200,000 others are in need urgent help, the UN's humanitarian office said.

Worldwide efforts to help survivors of Indonesia's devastating quake and tsunami gathered pace oyesterday as concern grew for hundreds of thousands with little food and water, six days after disaster struck. "We will continue to work closely with the Indonesian government to help people affected by this tragedy", Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.

Indonesia sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire", the world's most tectonically active region, and its 260 million people are vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

As a result, the Indonesian government expects to launch a new strategy to find disaster recovery, part of which could include the issuance and sale of catastrophe bonds, the report says.

He says the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs has asked the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, to send social workers to the affected area to support children who are alone or became separated from their families.

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