Indonesia tsunami and earthquake: Rescuers race to aid victims as death toll passes 840

Mass graves were dug Monday as Indonesian authorities rushed to bury hundreds of people killed by an ...

Posted: Oct 1, 2018 3:40 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2018 3:40 PM

Mass graves were dug Monday as Indonesian authorities rushed to bury hundreds of people killed by an earthquake and tsunami that cracked streets, tore down buildings and washed away homes on the island of Sulawesi.

Three days after the disaster, the streets of the provincial capital Palu were still covered in debris and bodies thrown about by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that triggered tsunami waves up to three-meters-high (10 feet).

Accidents, disasters and safety

Asia

Continents and regions

Earthquakes

Indonesia

Joko Widodo

Natural disasters

Political Figures - Intl

Rescue operations

Southeast Asia

Tsunamis

Air transportation

Airports

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Transportation and warehousing

Disaster relief

International assistance

International relations

International relations and national security

East Asia

South Korea

Deaths and fatalities

Society

Authorities raised the toll again Monday to 844 dead, and warned that more bodies were likely to be found as heavy equipment moved in to clear the rubble.

Conditions in the devastated area are grim, with food and water supplies running low and few buildings sturdy enough to offer safety from any aftershocks.

As they waited for aid Sunday, survivors took matters into their own hands, entering shops and wheeling away trolleys filled with food and water. At a gas station Monday, a CNN crew saw people opening up a tank from under the ground and using ladles to scoop up fuel.

Hundreds rushed to the airport hoping to catch one of the few flights out of the area. One man told CNN Monday he had been waiting there two days. A woman said she feared for her and her baby's safety due as residents raided shops for food and water.

In total, an estimated 2.4 million people were affected by the disaster, Indonesian Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. Some 600 people were hospitalized and more than 48,000 have been displaced.

In the chaos after the quake, more than 1,000 inmates from five prisons had fled, according to CNN Indonesia. Authorities have urged them to return within one week.

Weekend's horrors

The earthquakes were just the start of the horror for residents of Palu and surrounding areas. The largest tremor triggered a tsunami that sent waves of "about three meters high" to the beaches of Palu and Donggala.

Homes, business and vehicles along the coast were washed away by the violent waves. Roads and bridges were destroyed.

Mia, 40, was at the Ramayana shopping mall in Palu with her daughters when the ground started shaking.

"I just finished my shopping and went to the cashier, suddenly everything got dark and the walls started falling around us, it was horrible," said Mia, who like many Indonesians only goes by one name. She said she ran down a broken escalator with her daughters. They made it out alive, but not all were so lucky.

Across the region, first responders are continuing to dig through the rubble, sometimes by hand, in the hopes of finding survivors who were trapped by the massive quake or the destructive tsunami that followed.

In the residential area of Patobo, there are fears that many could have been killed when 744 homes were buried in mud, Nugroho said Monday.

In Palu, workers scrambled to rescue about 50 people trapped beneath the debris of the Roa Roa hotel.

Aerial images showed the eight-floor building completely collapsed, and video posted by Nugroho to Twitter showed orange-clad responders carrying an individual on a stretcher through the rubble.

One of the guests at the hotel was a 39-year-old South Korean national, according to the South Korean embassy in Indonesia. The man had been in the region for a paragliding competition.

Only two foreigners, a Malaysian and the South Korean national, are still unaccounted for, Nugroho said. Three French nationals previously missing have been found. The Indonesian government has evacuated 114 foreign nationals.

As of Sunday, there were no reports of US citizens affected by the quake, the US Embassy in Jakarta told CNN.

Aid efforts

Disaster officials say the inability to access the worst-affected areas has hampered their efforts, as they were unable to quickly deliver aid and heavy machinery used to rescue survivors. The Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu was closed for 24 hours after the tsunami but has since reopened to limited flights.

Aid has trickled into the city of Palu, but first responders have only recently reached the Donggala regency, home to more than 300,000 people. They were closest to the epicenter of the largest, magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck Friday, before the tsunami washed into the long, narrow bay, past the town of Donggala and into Palu.

"The Indonesian Red Cross is racing to help survivors, but we don't know what they'll find there," said Jan Gelfand, who heads the International Red Cross delegation in Indonesia Sunday. "I don't think we've quite seen the worst of things yet."

Priority will be given to evacuating survivors and allowing aid workers to bring in food and fresh water, said Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who visited the disaster site on Sunday.

Widodo has authorized the country to request international aid relief.

The European Union and South Korea have offered $1.7 million and $1 million respectively, while the Australian government has said it's working with Indonesia to identify options for assistance.

'Are you ready?'

Bambang Soesatyo, speaker of the People's Representative Council and a member of Golkar Party, told reporters Sunday the government needs to increase the scale of relief operations in the affected area.

Many people had to sleep on the side of the road and patients were treated in open spaces. Residents are still worried about aftershocks and are afraid to return home, said Soesatyo.

Hundreds of families are already mourning the loss of their loved ones, including an air traffic controller who's been hailed as a hero.

Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, died in the hospital after he jumped off the traffic control tower at the Palu airport when he thought the tower was collapsing.

He stayed behind to make sure a passenger airplane safely took off, according to AirNav Indonesia, the agency that oversees aircraft navigation.

The current and former mayor of Palu are also among the dead, according to the the Red Cross.

An early tsunami warning had been issued by the Indonesian meteorological agency, but was later lifted after the agency ascertained that the water had receded.

The quakes come weeks after a trio of earthquakes hit several islands in the South Pacific and Indonesia, including Lombok, which is still recovering from the effects of an August 5 earthquake that killed more than 430 people.

Terre Haute
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
Robinson
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 36°
Indianapolis
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 39°
Rockville
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 35°
Casey
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 37°
Brazil
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
Marshall
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 41°
Breezy & Colder
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

NORTH DAVIESS SECTIONAL

Image

NORTH KNOX SECTIONAL

Image

LINTON SECTIONAL

Image

WASHINGTON SECTIONAL

Image

VIN LIN SECTIONAL

Image

SULLIVAN SECTIONAL

Image

NORTHVIEW SECTIONAL

Image

NORTH VERMILLION SECTIONALS

Image

SOUTH VERMILLION SECTIONAL

Image

WEST VIGO SECTIONAL

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 363740

Reported Deaths: 9647
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1700395390
DuPage21776605
Lake20042507
Will17616425
Kane16038345
Winnebago9736179
St. Clair7759216
Madison6957153
McHenry5943120
Champaign589328
Peoria438868
McLean399731
Rock Island382289
Sangamon372262
Unassigned3631260
Kankakee328878
Macon279449
Kendall255528
Tazewell252252
LaSalle228161
DeKalb221342
Coles182838
Williamson180059
Boone177425
Adams173015
Clinton168725
Vermilion16198
Jackson149126
Whiteside129725
Randolph122015
Knox119016
Ogle11377
Effingham11214
Grundy9237
Franklin9138
Marion89617
Jefferson88845
Monroe88428
Bureau87917
Morgan86524
Stephenson8657
Henry8207
Christian80027
Macoupin76010
Union74625
McDonough70817
Fayette66022
Lee6581
Crawford6396
Shelby63111
Douglas6048
Livingston59710
Montgomery58715
Woodford56814
Logan5664
Saline5249
Bond4839
Warren4747
Wayne47312
Iroquois46819
Jersey46721
Jo Daviess4617
Fulton4601
Cass45511
Perry41516
Moultrie3905
Carroll3839
Johnson3320
Richland32516
Lawrence3238
Pike3044
Clay29813
Mason2941
Clark29210
Hancock2924
Washington2891
Greene28015
Cumberland2626
Jasper25810
De Witt2484
White2482
Mercer2376
Pulaski2301
Piatt2240
Wabash2165
Ford18711
Menard1711
Edgar1508
Massac1462
Marshall1423
Henderson1210
Hamilton1142
Alexander1131
Gallatin1062
Brown1030
Edwards1010
Scott1000
Putnam880
Schuyler841
Stark832
Calhoun670
Hardin530
Pope381
Out of IL50

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 155246

Reported Deaths: 4065
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25151785
Lake13570355
St. Joseph9145161
Elkhart8759135
Allen8129228
Hamilton6117113
Vanderburgh576760
Tippecanoe369515
Hendricks3268133
Monroe325738
Porter313649
Johnson3105128
Clark293961
Delaware293274
Vigo260538
Madison235093
Cass224022
LaPorte222858
Warrick192965
Kosciusko182625
Floyd179167
Howard162466
Bartholomew141558
Dubois138626
Marshall137426
Wayne126930
Henry125429
Grant125339
Boone122250
Hancock118245
Noble115933
Jackson112915
Dearborn94928
Morgan93740
Lawrence87436
Daviess87133
Gibson87111
Clinton84716
Shelby81730
LaGrange80115
Harrison76224
Knox75610
Putnam72816
Posey7146
DeKalb71011
Fayette66618
Steuben6278
Miami6095
Jasper5945
White58515
Montgomery58322
Greene53337
Scott51813
Decatur50439
Adams4837
Whitley4556
Clay4467
Ripley4418
Sullivan43714
Wells4288
Wabash4119
Starke4077
Orange40425
Huntington3905
Spencer3906
Washington3753
Franklin37225
Jennings36713
Fulton3523
Randolph3529
Jefferson3415
Pike33018
Carroll32513
Perry31014
Jay3056
Fountain2943
Tipton27523
Vermillion2411
Parke2323
Newton22511
Rush2154
Blackford2093
Owen2051
Martin1990
Crawford1581
Pulaski1521
Brown1393
Ohio1297
Benton1100
Union1100
Switzerland920
Warren781
Unassigned0234