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Indonesia limits foreign role in earthquake relief

October 10, 2018 11:40 PM
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PALU, INDONESIA—Indonesia’s disaster agency said Wednesday that it only needs tents, water treatment units, generators and transport from other countries as it responds to the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 2,000 people.

The agency’s spokesperson, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said the death toll from the double disaster on Sept. 28 has risen to 2,045, with most of the fatalities in the coastal city of Palu. More than 80,000 people are living in temporary shelters or otherwise displaced, he said.

Possibly 5,000 people are buried in obliterated parts of the city and its surroundings where the force of the quake liquefied the soil and sucked houses into the earth. Kilometres of coastline were trashed by the tsunami and Nugroho said its waves were up to 11 metres high. A tsunami warning after the quake had predicted waves of 0.5 to 3 metres.

Nugroho reiterated at a news conference in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, that the official search for bodies will end Thursday with mass prayers in hard-hit neighbourhoods but volunteers and family members can continue searching.

“People are traumatized. They don’t want to go back” to those places, Nugroho said. “They asked to be relocated to another place and a house made for them.”


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