832 Dead, Many More Feared Dead in Indonesia Quakes

The death toll in the Indonesia quake has reached 832 and many more feared dead. Over 170 aftershocks were recorded on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island after a 7.4 magnitude quake on Friday, a spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster management agency, Sutopo Nugroho, stated.

“Different aftershocks were recorded, and their magnitude did not exceed five,” Nugroho said. Some areas are still hard to reach, including Dungala, home to at least 300,000 people, which is the epicentre of the aftershocks. Power and communications have been cut off for the second day in a row, he stated.

According to AFP, the death toll in the quake, which triggered a tsunami has jumped to 832. The number of victims may rise, Nugroho noted. In Palu, the capital of the Central Sulawesi province, the quake has claimed at least 420 lives and injured over 540 others. Some 16,000 people were forced to flee their homes.

Some 30 minutes after the quake started, local authorities cancelled a tsunami warning as the monitoring equipment did not register the approaching disaster. Several hundred local people were on the quay preparing to mark a national holiday. Their fate is still unknown, rescuers said.

Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said on Sunday Palu’s international airport, which was closed two days ago due to a damaged runway and flight control tower, will resume operations. Indonesian President Joko Widodo is expected to arrive in the administrative center located 1,500 km from the capital on Sunday.

The Indonesian government will allocate approximately $37.6 mln to carry out a rescue operation and provide assistance to the quake victims, the ANTARA news agency reported, citing Finance Minister Sri Mulyani.

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