Indonesia earthquake, tsunami toll climbs to 1,424

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Palu (Indonesia), Oct 4 (IANS) Indonesian authorities on Thursday raised to 1,424 the death toll from the devastating 7.5-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that rocked the island of Sulawesi last week.

During a televised press conference in Jakarta, National Agency for Disaster Management spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that at least 113 people were still missing.

The death toll rose by 17 compared to Wednesday’s count, while the number of injured rose to 2,549 with more than 70,000 displaced people, Efe news reported.

The large majority of the deaths were in the city of Palu, home to 350,000 people.

Sutopo said that 1,047 bodies were buried in mass graves and that distribution of relief goods and reconstruction of property would now be prioritised.

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Meanwhile, 92 people were detained for looting cars, motorcycles, cigarettes, coffee and food products on Sulawesi Island.

Police officials said that most of the looting occurred in Palu city — the worst affected by the twin disasters. Thefts were also recorded in Sigi, Toli-Toli and Donggala regencies.

Military and disaster management agency’s trucks were distributing relief goods along the roads in Palu, while the Red Cross distributed blankets and mattresses that were brought to the area by sea.

Inhabitants of more remote, rural areas have complained of a lack of aid and support since the tragedy.

–IANS

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