Nusa Dua. Central Sulawesi Governor Longki Djanggola has extended the state of emergency in the areas affected by last month's earthquake and tsunami by another 14 days and the search for victims' bodies by another day on Thursday.
The current state of emergency, which is due to end on Saturday, has now been extended until Oct. 26.
The decision was made as the authorities still encounter many problems on the ground to provide displaced people with basic needs, repair damaged infrastructure and build temporary housing.
In response to requests by civil society organizations, the government also decided to allow one more day for the evacuation of bodies, which was due to end on Thursday afternoon over health concerns.
"In a meeting on Oct. 8, it was agreed that the evacuation process must be ended on Oct. 11 due to medical, physiological, social and religious considerations. However, there are many requests from the members of civil society for one more day, therefore, it is extended for one more day. It must end tomorrow," National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said in a statement on Thursday.
The areas where the bodies of victims cannot be recovered will be turned into memorial parks.
The confirmed death toll from the devastating disaster stood at 2,071 as of Thursday afternoon, after rescuers found six more bodies. More than 650 people are still missing and at least 150 are believed to have been buried under thick mud due to soil liquefaction caused by the magnitude-7.4 earthquake on Sept. 28, the authorities said.
The government expects to complete the building of temporary houses within two months. Residents of Balaroa village will be relocated to the Dayu area, while those from Petobo will be moved to Ngata Baru.
Sutopo said many disaster victims now suffer from respiratory problems and diarrhea and need immediate medical treatment.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla will accompany United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on a visit to disaster area in Palu on Friday. The UN chief is in Indonesia to attend the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group in Nusa Dua, Bali, as well as the Asean Leaders' Conference.