Indonesia: Death toll rises to 1,571 in a week

By Hayati Nupus

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) – The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) on Friday said the death toll from the 7.4-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia's Sulawesi Island last week has risen to 1,571.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, an agency spokesperson, said 144 bodies were found in Donggala, 1,352 in Palu, 62 in Sigi, 12 people in Parigi Moutong, and one person in Pasangkayu of West Sulawesi.

"It is estimated there are still many victims buried under debris, the joint evacuation team continues to search," Nugroho said in the capital Jakarta.

He said the victims were trapped especially in Petobo, the area affected by the liquefaction.

Nugroho said 1,551 bodies were buried in mass graves at Poboyo, Pantoloan, as well as family cemeteries.

He also noted that there were 2,549 people who suffer from serious injuries and are currently being treated in hospitals.

Meanwhile, 113 people still remain missing and 152 still trapped under the rubble, while 70,821 are displaced — scattered in 141 points.

Nugroho said a total of 66,238 houses were damaged, 65,733 of which were located in Central Sulawesi and 505 in West Sulawesi.

He said that based on disaster management guidelines, the joint evacuation team would explore the location and seek victims for a week. If needed, the period would be extended to 10 days.

The search and rescue team will continue to look for victims but with less personnel following the 10-day period, he added.

The disaster in Central Sulawesi could be Indonesia’s second-largest tragedy after the 2004 Aceh tsunami that killed more than 170,000 people.

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