The final death toll in the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Sulawesi island could be in the “thousands,” Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said Sunday, as a national disaster agency spokesman said 832 bodies had been recovered.
Rescue workers sifted through the ruins of buildings in Central Sulawesi after a powerful quake pummeled neighborhoods in the province on Friday, spawning a tsunami that swept away dozens of homes. Local seismologist said the shallow quake carried a 7.4 magnitude, but the U.S. Geological Survey said it had registered a 7.5-magnitude, a temblor capable of producing widespread damage.
“The number of dead victims stood at 832,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, told reporters.
“The number of casualties is expected to increase because many victims have yet to be identified and many others are still buried under the rubble,” he said, adding that at least 540 people were seriously injured and 16,700 were displaced.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla warned that the death toll “could be in the thousands.”
“We still don’t know the extent of the disaster there,” he told reporters.
Most of the victims were found in the city of Palu, but 11 deaths have been recorded in neighboring Donggala regency, Sutopo said, adding that rescuers faced extreme difficulty trying to reach the area because debris littered the roads.
He said officials were still awaiting report from other affected areas, including the Sigi regency near Palu.
Full story: BenarNews
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