United Nations seeks $50.5 million for 'immediate' Indonesia disaster aid

Indonesian soldiers unloading supplies brought in by the New Zealanders

SUPPLIED Petty Officer Chris Weissenborn Indonesian soldiers unloading supplies brought in by the New Zealanders

The death toll from the natural disaster and tsunami which devastated Indonesia's Sulawesi island has topped 1,700, as officials fear another 5,000 people could be missing.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said officials are trying to confirm the number still missing in several villages obliterated when the quake caused loose soil to liquefy, sucking houses into deep mud and burying occupants.

Survivors of the quake and tsunami that hit Central Sulawesi last month have started to return to their homes, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said on Sunday.

"There was a palpable sense of relief from the evacuees when they got into our Herc", he said.

No one knows how many people were dragged to their deaths when the ground under Petobo and nearby areas south of Palu, dissolved so violently.

Hoax warnings have proliferated since the magnitude 7.5 quake and tsunami on Friday, and the national disaster agency has asked people to only rely on credible sources of information.

"Most of the victims were found in Palu and they were hit by tsunami, particularly in the coastal areas near Talise beach", the spokesman said.

People living in the camp said two residents died in collapsing houses in the village. Relief aid started arriving in the more remote areas of Sulawesi Island.

"An 11-truck convoy will depart from Makassar carrying about 83,000 litres of water, in 19-litre plastic jugs that can be reused by the people in the area", IOM spokesperson Paul Dillon said, adding the convoy was bound for Donggala.

Raw Politics: the dire climate change warning that should shock us all
The final scenario compensates for a "business-as-usual" economy and lifestyle by allowing a large overshoot of the 1.5°C target. Coral reefs would nearly entirely disappear with 2 degrees of warming, with just 10-30% of existing reefs surviving at 1.5 °C.

Indonesia had been reluctant to accept outside help at first but as the scale of the disaster became clear, the government agreed to allow in foreign aid.

Despite that, Allibert said it had been hard to get permits for Sulawesi.

A floating hospital run by the Indonesian navy and docked in Palu has already assisted with the delivery of four babies, local media reported.

In a rare move, Indonesia's government has appealed for worldwide help to cope with the tragedy unfolding on Sulawesi island. The United Nations has said some 200,000 people, including tens of thousands of children, are in need of help.

Flight Lieutenant Dave Natapu said he'd rarely witnessed desolation like he saw in Palu from the air. Traumatised survivors are desperate for any help.

"The search for the victim is expected to be completed on Thursday", Sutopo told Xinhua.

Survivors from the quake-damaged Indonesian city of Palu give a thumbs-up sign before the Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft that evacuated them yesterday to Balikapapan. Fitriani, a student from Palu who goes by one name, said his group survived the disaster but wasn't sure they could attend the competition until they were told they could board the military plane.

In coordination with the Government of Indonesia, IOM is preparing to send an aid convoy from the south of the island to the north, where needs are greatest.

Latest News