Indonesia Quake-Tsunami Has Hit the Death Toll Up to 1,200 People Now
According to Indonesian officials, more than 1,200 people have been found dead in the quake-tsunami that smashed Sulawesi. The police are currently trying to anchor survivors and also tracking the survivors who are taking advantage of the situation by looting homes.
In fact, the reports say that officers were firing warning shots and tear gas to ward off thieves who were stealing from stores in Palu, which is a coastal city that was earlier destroyed by a 7.5-magnitude quake and the tsunami that came with it.
According to statistics, around 200,000 people are in need of urgent medical help, and among them are thousands of children.
Survivors are thirsty and hungry. However, with food and clean water in short supply, the local authorities and helpers are in distress. As well as the local hospitals that are overwhelmed by the number of injured.
The Police said on Tuesday that they were tolerating desperate survivors who were stealing food and water from closed shops, however, now they have arrested around 35 people who were stealing computers and cash.
“On the first and second day clearly no shops were open. People were hungry. There were people in dire need. That’s not a problem,” said deputy national police chief Ari Dono Sukmanto.
“But after day two, the food supply started to come in, it only needed to be distributed. We are now re-enforcing the law,” he added.
“There are ATMs. They are open. If people steal, we catch and investigate,” he further added.
Despite official assurances, desperation was evident on the streets for the people of Palu, where survivors clambered through wreckage hunting for anything valuable.
Rescue efforts are being made by some heavy machinery that are available, however, lack of proper machinery and severed transport links, the scale of the damage, and the Indonesian government’s reluctance to accept foreign help are making it difficult for the victims.
“A total of 34 bodies were found by the team,” Indonesia Red Cross representative, Aulia Arriani told AFP after the discovery. She added that 86 students had initially been reported missing from a Bible camp at the Jonooge Church Training Centre.
“The most challenging problem is travelling in the mud as much as 1.5 hours by foot while carrying the bodies to an ambulance,” she said.
Urgent Help Needed
On Monday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that there were 191,000 people that are in urgent need of help after the quake-tsunami, among them are 46,000 children and 14,000 elderly.
The dead, many yet uncounted, are still trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings. Moreover, with Indonesia’s hot climate, bodies are quickly beginning to rot and provide a breeding ground for deadly diseases.
Trucks stacked with corpses wrapped in orange, yellow and black bags are bringing their load to the site, where the bodies are buried into the grave.