Published On: Wed, Oct 3rd, 2018

Indonesia Tsunami: Death Toll Rises To Nearly 1,350

The number of people known to have died in Friday’s earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia has risen to 1,347, disaster response officials say.

Indonesia Tsunami

The death toll jumped on Tuesday from a previously confirmed figure of 844.

The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu.

Aid supplies are beginning to arrive in the city, where survivors have no access to running water or electricity.

As tensions and need run high, police have begun guarding shops against looters.

Officers initially took a lenient approach to survivors seizing basic goods, deputy national police chief Ari Dono Sukmanto said, but some people have since been arrested for stealing computers and cash.

“After day two the food supply started to come in, it only needed to be distributed,” he said. “We are now re-enforcing the law.”

Humanitarian relief convoys entering the city are also being escorted by soldiers and police.

In a separate incident, a volcano began erupting on the same island, Sulawesi, on Wednesday.

Mount Soputan is about 1,000km (600 miles) away from Palu, and it was not immediately seen as a threat to the aid operation.

Everyone wants to get out. Most can’t and are having to endure another day without power and limited drinking water. In the town square people patiently wait in line to refill water bottles.

Those that can make it here receive two meals a day, from a community kitchen run by volunteers and gallon of water to bathe in.

Erna Wahyuni is cutting up a mountain of cabbage for soup. Her house was destroyed, but she wants to help.

“I was saved so I have to give back. It’s also hard just sitting in a tent in the hot sun all day, I would rather be cooking,” she laughs.

Are there still hopes of finding survivors?

Among the people confirmed dead are 34 Indonesian students, whose bodies were found under a church buried by one mudslide. Dozens more are still missing there.

Teams have so far recovered three survivors from the ruins of the collapsed Hotel Roa Roa in Palu. An estimated 50 people were also inside when the quake hit.

Why was the disaster so bad?

The 7.5-magnitude quake occurred at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just off the central island of Sulawesi at 18:03 (10:03 GMT) on Friday.

Scientists believe it may have triggered an underwater landslide which set off a tsunami. The waves built up height and speed as they travelled down the long narrow bay towards Palu.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla has said the final death toll could be in the thousands, while the Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected.