The death toll in the magnitude-7.4 earthquake, followed by a tsunami, which struck Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi on Friday (28/09), had risen to 832 by Sunday afternoon, while at least 540 people were injured and hospitalized. (Antara Photo/Rolex Malaha)

Death Toll in Palu Quake, Tsunami Rises to 832; Three Foreigners Among the Missing

BY :TELLY NATHALIA

SEPTEMBER 30, 2018

Jakarta. The death toll in the magnitude-7.4 earthquake, followed by a tsunami, which struck Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi on Friday (28/09), had risen to 832 by Sunday afternoon.

The bodies of at least 11 of the deceased were found in Donggala district, which was closest to the epicenter of the quake.

"The death toll is expected to rise further as the search for people trapped under rubble continues," National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Nugroho Sutopo said on Sunday.

The agency estimates that between 50 and 60 people may still be trapped under the ruins of the Roa-Roa Hotel in Palu.

At least 540 people were injured and hospitalized, while more than 16,500 have been displaced. They have been provided with temporary shelter at 24 points in Palu, the provincial capital.

There were at least 71 foreign citizens in Palu and surrounding areas when the disaster struck. Three of them – from France, Malaysia and South Korea – are still missing. One person from Singapore and another from Belgium have meanwhile been evacuated to Jakarta.

"Ten Vietnamese citizens are safe and now near the airport," Sutopo said at a press conference at the offices of the BNPB in Jakarta.

The remaining foreigners include 32 Thais, 21 Chinese and one German, who are safe and waiting to be evacuated from Palu.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo arrived in the city on Sunday afternoon to coordinate the relief efforts. He visited some of the affected areas, including Talise Beach and the Balaroa housing complex.

"Roads have been cut off, the airport cannot be fully used for landings, the power supply has only been partially restored and fuel supplies are hampered. I hope the community is patient. We are working on this together," the president tweeted after his visit.

Suara Pembaruan meanwhile reported that 30,000 liters of fuel was expected to arrive on Sunday afternoon from Parepare in West Sulawesi, for distribution in Palu and Donggala. The fuel was transported by five tanker trucks, under police escort.

State-owned flight navigation service AirNav Indonesia earlier announced that Mutiara SIS Al Jufri Airport had been reopened for limited commercial flights on Sunday morning. It said airlines, including national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, are prioritizing rescue workers, medical personnel and logistical supplies.

The BNPB said there was a shortage of fuel, clean water, tents and food in the worst-affected areas, while the electricity supply and telecommunication network have yet to be fully restored. Damaged transportation infrastructure poses a further obstacle to the distribution of aid and the deployment of relief workers.

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