Indonesia's quake, tsunami reaches 1,571, search mission extended

Indonesia's quake, tsunami reaches 1,571, search mission extended

Indonesia's quake, tsunami reaches 1,571, search mission extended

As the sun slipped behind the mountains and a gentle breeze blew onshore, hundreds of people gathered on an Indonesian beach Friday to chant a Muslim prayer - and remember those they lost - one week after a massive quake and tsunami ravaged the area, killing more than 1,500 people.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon that 519 of the bodies had been buried.

The State Disaster Agency warned people to stay at least 4km away, but said there was no need to evacuate for the time being.

According to the UN's humanitarian office nearly 200,000 people need urgent help, among them tens of thousands of children, with an estimated 66,000 homes destroyed or damaged by the 7.5-magnitude quake and the tsunami it spawned.

A man stands amid the damage near boats swept ashore by the tsunami in Wani village on the outskirts of Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. He said the Palu airport will also be resume operations for passenger planes soon. "But not yet to the most inaccessible places", Ms Sinta said.

Electricity has been restored to some parts of Palu, the city of just over 370,000 residents that endured the brunt of the disaster.

Some roads remain impassable, detritus from the tsunami is scattered everywhere, and terrified people are sleeping outside in makeshift camps for fear of more quakes.

Some 130 million Indonesians - about half the population - spend an average of almost three-and-a-half hours a day on social media, one of the highest rates in the world, according to data from London-based creative agency We Are Social and social media management platform Hootsuite.

"It is a very severe disaster here that is going to take a long time to recover from", he said.

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. "Indonesians have a big heart".

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

Twenty-nine countries have pledged aid, according to Indonesia, but the delay in inviting help and severed transport links means little foreign help has arrived.

The Indonesian government previously allowed tsunami survivors to take food and other basic supplies from grocery stores to temporarily support their lives after the tsunami while aids were being delivered to them.

In 2004, a quake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

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