At the time of this writing, the BBC reports that official death toll sits at 1347 in the aftermath of the Sulawesi tsunami and earthquake that struck Indonesia on Friday. The significant rise from the 844 person toll reported on Monday is expected to spike higher as rescue and recovery workers resume their efforts to investigate the communities which were leveled by the disasters.
The quake measured at 7.5 on the Richter scale and had a fairly shallow epicenter near the city of Palu, as previously reported at TNB.
The damage caused on Sulawesi has been extensive, with entire villages and housing projects destroyed. One reason for the devastation has been a liquefying effect on the ground, which caused immediate collapse of structures as the earth in some villages took on a “quicksand” consistency.
The Indonesian Disaster Agency Spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho provided some details on an event which was occurring when the tsunami hit.
Nugroho said “tens to hundreds” of people were taking part in a beach festival in Palu … their fate was unknown.News 18
There have been some stories of hope from the destruction. A man pulled free after being buried for three days in the rubble. A woman found in the devastation of a crumbled hotel. These have been brief moments of positivity amidst the horror that has inspired mass graves.
Much of the national and international relief focus has been on Palu, but smaller communities in the area also suffered incredible damage.
“We feel like we are stepchildren here because all the help is going to Palu,” said Mohamad Taufik, 38, from the town of Donggala, where five of his relatives are still missing. “There are many young children here who are hungry and sick, but there is no milk or medicine.”Asahi Shimbun
The complaints of lack of supplies are widespread, with clean water, food and other necessities all scarce. Fears and desperation have triggered looting, which the government has let occur for basic requirements (they are still arresting people for stealing things like computers and cash) and aid agencies are attempting to get required items to the survivors.
Since the major quake, there have been two lesser earthquakes of 5.9 and 6.0 rating which struck another Indonesian island, Sumba.