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Indonesia tsunami death toll rises to 832, hundreds missing

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A handout photo provided by the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management on Sept. 29, 2018 shows patients staying in a yard of Undata Regional Hospital in Palu, Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province. Xinhua

JAKARTA (Xinhua) – The death toll from multiple strong earthquakes and an ensuing tsunami which devastated Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on Friday has jumped to 832, and the figure is expected to rise, spokesman of national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said yesterday.

The multiple powerful and shallow quakes of 6.0, 7.4 and 6.1 magnitude followed by the tsunami devastated the province with the hardest-hit area in Palu, the provincial capital and Donggala district.

Mr Nugroho said that survivors and the injured people were in need of aids including fast food, baby food, medicines, tents and blankets. More rescuers and heavy machinery equipment were also needed.

Dozens of people were reported to be still trapped in the rubble of a hotel in the city of Palu, which was hit by waves up to six meters high.

The nearby cities of Donggala and Mamuju were also ravaged, but little information was available due to damaged roads and disrupted telecommunications.

Mr Nugroho said four hospitals in Palu reported hundreds were also injured.

He said the fate of “tens to hundreds” of people involved in a beach festival in Palu when the tsunami struck was unknown.

In Palu, the city of more than 380,000 people was strewn with debris from collapsed buildings.

Spokesman of the country’s information and communication ministry Ferdinandus Setu said that the main airport in the province has been operating but only serving relief efforts. Communication facilities have also been functioned in several parts of the province.

Photos released by the Indonesian air force and the disaster management agency showed collapsed buildings and bridges, and the injured lying in a yard in front of a hospital to be treated.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo had ordered the head of the national disaster management agency, national police chief, military commander and related ministries to immediately undertake emergency relief efforts.

Indonesia’s military had dispatched personnel and aircraft for the relief efforts, according to Mr Setu.

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