Death toll from Indonesian natural disaster, tsunami rises to 844


Sa'adon Lawira holds his grandson's cat whose miauw helped him finding his body which was buried under the rubble of the family's house in Balaroa neighborhood in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.Rescuers recover the body of an quake victim from the ruins of the collapsed Roa Roa Hotel in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.

Two survivors have been plucked from the 80-room Hotel Roa-Roa, Indonesia's search and rescue agency said, and there could still be more alive.

Over 844 people have been confirmed dead after a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.5 natural disaster slammed into Indonesia's coastline on the island of Sulawesi, causing thousands of homes to collapse, along with hospitals, hotels and shopping centers.

A massive tidal wave, prompted by a 7.5 magnitude quake, killed hundreds of people in the Indonesian city of Palu after slamming into the narrow bay on Sulawesi island.

Dozens of people are feared to be underneath the rubble of one hotel alone, the Roa-Roa in the devastated coastal resort of Palu.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that there were about 46,000 children and 14,000 elderly Indonesians among those in dire need - many in areas that aren't the focus of government recovery efforts.

It wasn't immediately clear what type of help was being authorized.

A warning system was put in place across the whole Pacific region after the 2004 disaster, which killed almost a quarter of a million people.

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo authorized the acceptance of worldwide help, Nugroho said, adding that generators, heavy equipment and tents were among the most-needed items. "This is for sure a matter of life and death for the prisoners", Ministry of Justice official Sri Puguh Utami said.

"My sister was found embracing her father", he said.

The 7.5 magnitude quake struck along the coastal district of Donggala on Friday, causing at least 1,200 deaths and displacing tens of thousands more.

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The Red Cross said the situation was "nightmarish" and reports from its workers venturing into one cut-off area, Donggala, a region of 300,000 people north of Palu and close to the epicentre, indicated it had been hit "extremely hard".

As a cargo plane failed to land at Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie Airport in Palu Sunday because the airport was overrun by hungry residents, one woman cried, "We have not eaten for three days". "Transport links, power and communications are still down".

Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency confirmed to the BBC that none of the country's tsunami detector buoys were working before Sulawesi was hit.

Desperation on the ground continues to mount as aid is slow to reach the community four days after the disaster, which has so far killed 1,234 people, hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Palu, a city of 380,000 on the western coast of central Indonesia's Sulawesi island, stood in ruins.

Smaller aftershocks from Friday's quake continued to rumble through the area.

TRT World spoke to Bruce Harrison in Indonesia's Makassar.

At least five foreigners, including three French nationals as well as a Malaysian and the South Korean national, are unaccounted for, Nugroho said.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the final number of dead could be in the "thousands" as many regions have still not been reached. "I could do nothing to help", resident Nur Indah said tearfully.

On Monday, Jokowi said he would send "as much food as possible" immediately. Many people were trapped and buried under collapsed houses.

The Lippo Group said in a statement that it has delivered food, drinking water and clothing worth more than Rp 365 million, collected from Unilever Indonesia, OrangTua Group, Sumber Pangan Sejahtera, Coca-Cola, Mayora, Indomarco, Artaboga and Matahari Department Store, to Palu and Donggala on Sunday.

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