Power restored to Indonesian quake city; fate of thousands hangs in balance

07 October, 2018, 18:28 | Author: Trevor Moore
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Time was running out on Wednesday for anyone trapped in the rubble of a devastating quake and tsunami in Indonesia, five days after disaster struck, while increasingly angry survivors waited for an aid operation to move into high gear.

The death toll from the quake and tsunami has reportedly risen to more than 1,500.

Hundreds of Muslim survivors in the Indonesian city of Palu have gathered at shattered mosques for Friday prayers, seeking strength to rebuild their lives a week after a powerful natural disaster and tsunami killed more than 1,500 people.

Most of the confirmed dead were in Palu and losses in remote areas remain unknown. Many roads in the quake zone are blocked and communications lines are down five days after the magnitude 7.5 natural disaster and tsunami struck.

The Indonesian military was bringing in hundreds more troops to help with search and rescue efforts and keep order among survivors who have grown desperate six days after their lives were thrown into chaos. He announced an allocation of $15m.

Officials on the ground said that while the government was now inviting offers of help, there is still no "mechanism for this to be implemented". Released today by the Humanitarian Country Team, the Plan outlines the support that the global humanitarian community is aiming to provide to 191,000 people over the next three months.

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In Palu city - one of the most affected areas - the power grid was 60 per cent out of action, according to the state-owned power company which hopes to restore power by October 14.

Indonesian Central Bank governor Perry Warjiyo played down the overall impact on Southeast Asia's biggest economy of the disaster in Sulawesi, and of earlier deadly quakes on the tourist island of Lombok. "We are relieved that these much-needed supplies have arrived by plane and are starting to get through", Zubedy Koteng from Save the Children said in a statement.

Aid organisations are urgently working with the government to identify and reunite them with their relatives, the group said. Indonesia is located on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

A network of tsunami-detecting buoys has been out of action since 2012.

Underlining a growing sense of urgency, President Joko Widodo was due to make his second visit to the disaster zone on Wednesday.

"Up to 70,000 people have been displaced from their homes, so this material is critical to continue to support those people in need". The national disaster agency says more than 148 million Indonesians are at risk in earthquake-prone areas and 3.8 million people also face danger from tsunamis, with at most a 40 minute window for warning people to flee.

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