Duterte says PH ready to aid quake-battered Indonesia

Duterte says PH ready to aid quake-battered Indonesia

Duterte says PH ready to aid quake-battered Indonesia

Palu: Indonesian authorities on Thursday raised to 1,424 the death toll from the devastating 7.5-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami that rocked the island of Sulawesi last week.

A week after a massive tsunami struck Indonesia, the United Nations disaster risk agency said on Friday Asia-Pacific governments must do more to empower coastal communities to protect themselves against the threat of earthquakes and tsunamis.

More than seventy thousand homes were destroyed or damaged by the magnitude 7.5 quake that struck on September 28, launching waves of up to six-metres high that slammed into Sulawesi at eight hundred kilometres per hour.

Rescue workers were working against the clock to find any remaining survivors, with humanitarian groups estimating that up to 1,000 people were buried under the rubble.

Emergency services have been burying people as they are found after the disaster, which killed more than 1,550 people in and around the port city of Palu on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

The death toll from the quake and tsunami has reportedly risen to more than 1,500.

Despite the Indonesian government urging foreign rescue teams to "stand down" because the crisis was in hand, residents in hard-hit, remote villages like Wani in Donggala province said little help has arrived and hope is fading.

Nevertheless there were signs of life returning to normal, with children playing in the streets, radios blaring out music, and electricity back up and running in most places.

Global help for survivors has gathered pace, but communities in more remote areas have been cut off by broken roads, landslides and crippled communications, leaving people increasingly desperate for basic needs as aid has only just begun to trickle through.

Photo taken on October 4, 2018 shows a collapsed mosque in the wake of an natural disaster in Palu, Indonesia.

About half of those deaths occurred in Indonesia.

Thousands have been injured and more than 70,000 evacuated to shelters and makeshift tents that have sprouted across Palu, the provincial capital of Sulawesi island that is home to most of the victims, and its surrounding areas.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who arrived early Friday in Palu to assess the situation, said it will take at least two years to redevelop and reconstruct the disaster zone.

Indonesia has the world's biggest Muslim population but also pockets of Christians, including on Sulawesi, and other religions.

Military officials said Palu's airport is expected to reopen for civilian traffic later on Thursday.

"We will be working with Indonesian authorities and our worldwide partners to provide an air bridge between Balikpapan and Palu and help bring aid supplies to where they are needed most".

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