Burials beginning in Indonesia as rescue need grows urgent

Tsunami

Tsunami

"We grieve with our Indonesian brothers and sisters and stand hand in hand with them in praying for all of those who lost their lives in this tragedy", Cayetano said.

"There are many areas where the search and rescue teams haven't been able to reach", Nugroho said, adding that teams needed heavy equipment to move broken concrete.

Five foreigners- three French, one South Korean and one Malaysian- were among the missing, Mr Nugroho said.

An AFP reporter on the scene saw widespread damage some 50 meters inland.

"We have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying", the Red Cross said in a statement. "I have my staff on the ground, but it's impossible just to rely on their strength alone to clear this", Muhammad Syaugi, head of the national search-and-rescue agency, was quoted by the BBC as saying.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government had allocated $37.58 million for disaster recovery, media reported. In 2004, a quake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia. Picture taken September 29, 2018.

A magnitude 7.5 quake spawned the deadly tsunami on Friday evening.

Some 1,200 Indonesian convicts escaped from three different detention facilities in the devastated region of Sulawesi following an quake and tsunami disaster, a justice ministry official said Monday.

This meant a tsunami warning was issued to everyone in the area.

Officials said they estimated the waves had hit while the warning was still in effect.

Hundreds were on the beach for a festival when the tsunami warning sounded but didn't immediately leave and became victims.

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Questions have been raised about what caused the tsunami, with speculation an underwater landslide was to blame.

In Palu - home to 350,000 people - partially covered bodies lay near the shore after waves hit the coast Friday.

Rescuers have been trickling into Palu, but Donggala and some of the surrounding regions remain largely cut off, with poor communications.

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

Dramatic video footage captured from the top floor of a parking ramp as the tsunami rolled in showed waves toppling several buildings and inundating a large mosque. Most people slept outdoors, fearing strong aftershocks.

Electricity and communications have been cut off and roads that are severely damaged or blocked by landslides are making it hard to assess the damage, Nugroho said.

Officials said they would deliver some assistance via Makassar, the biggest city on Sulawesi, an island of about 18 million people.

Hospitals were overwhelmed by the influx of injured, with many people being treated in the open air, while other survivors helped to retrieve the remains of those who died. More than 400 people were badly injured, Sutopo said. Photos on his Twitter page show bodies lined up in body bags, as police begin the grim task of identifying them and reporting the deaths to families. "If he needs our help, he'll have it", he told ABC TV's Insiders programme.

The disaster agency has said that essential aircraft could land at Palu's airport, though AirNav, which oversees aircraft navigation, said the runway was cracked and the control tower damaged. Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

Indonesia's president on Friday night said he had instructed the security minister to coordinate the government's response to a quake and tsunami that hit central Sulawesi.

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