The death toll in Indonesia due to the natural disaster is continuously rising. Indonesian authorities have found 1,763 deaths after the earthquake and the tsunami that hit the island of Sulawesi. It is also estimated that over 5,000 can be buried in the wreckage.
Earlier it has been estimated that over a thousand people may be missing. But nine days after the disaster struck, the authorities have readjusted the numbers of death rate. On Sunday, the authorities stated that more than 5,000 people are probably missing in the two villages of Petobo and Balaroa.
The disaster authorities spokesman pointed out at a press conference in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta that the exact number can not be determined, as the villages are largely buried deep under heavy mud and ruins.
The numbers have always been uncertain and preliminary, because the authorities have lacked an overview in a situation where the entire neighborhood has been eliminated. The government is now discussing whether the exploration action should be terminated in the hardest affected areas, which can thus stand as mass graves.
UN estimated large emergency needs
The UN estimates that nearly 200,000 people need immediate relief after the disaster.
In the village of Balaroa, where the powerful shack caused the earth to become a tough, floating mass, rescuers have to use masks to keep away the stench of death. The hope of finding survivors is shrinking.
– There is no survivor here. We only find the same, all the time, “says Sergeant Syafaruddin.
Much needed international assistance
International assistance has come late, but is much needed. Thousands of survivors have fled out of the provincial capital of Palu to neighboring cities. Hospitals are overloaded. In the village of Karawana, health workers can not offer anything but antibiotics and pain relievers to those who have infected wounds.
The HOPE Assistance Organization says only 2 of their 82 employees in Palu have signed up for service.
“We do not know what has happened to doctors, healthcare practitioners and bio engineers,” says the organization.
Palu requires immidiate help
The survivors are facing a tough time. They are living in shops just to survive. The crime has also been increased as the security forces have arrested more people for robbery. A heavily guarded store that opened Saturday, refused to let in customers. The goods were instead delivered at the door.
Minister of Agriculture Amran Sulaiman promised 500 trucks filled with food and other necessities sent to Palu. He said on Saturday that, “Palus’s situation is sad for all of us. Everybody tries to help.”
The UN has also requested more than 400 million dollars for “immediate help” to survivors.
Indonesia is located along the world’s most tectonic active region, and its 260 million inhabitants are vulnerable to tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.