Death toll in Indonesia earthquake, tsunami crosses 1,300: Reports
The death toll from the powerful earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia has crossed 1,300 people, news reports citing the country's disaster management agency officials said Wednesday.
The reports said the death toll jumped to at least 1,347 from the previously confirmed figure of 1,234.
Indonesia's Palu island was hit by a strong 7.5-magnitude earthquake on Friday and subsequent tsunami waves which destroyed roads, triggered landslides and downed bridges on the island and in surrounding areas.
The quake brought down hotels, shopping malls and countless houses in Palu, while tsunami waves as high as six metres (20 feet) scoured its beachfront shortly afterwards.
More than 65,000 homes were also damaged and more than 60,000 people have been displaced and are in need of emergency help.
Meanwhile, the United Nations on Tuesday said that almost 200,000 people are in need of urgent help, among them are tens of thousands of children.
Survivors are battling thirst and hunger, with food and clean water in short supply, and local hospitals are overwhelmed by the number of injured.
As rescue efforts were being hampered due to the lack of personnel and heavy machinery Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered the national search and rescue agency to send more police and soldiers into the affected districts as rescuers are struggling to reach some areas after some remote areas have been got cut off due to severed transport links.
The government has also said it would accept offers of international aid, after shunning outside help earlier this year when an earthquake struck Lombok island.
According to a report by AFP, along the road to Donggala -- a large town close to the epicentre of the quake -- there were more scenes of destruction. The town itself appeared relatively unscathed, but in the worst affected areas, it was difficult to find a single vertical surface.
Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and many of the world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.
On Tuesday as well, Indonesia was shit by another two mild quakes which struck the island of Sumba, hundreds of kilometres from Palu.
However, so far no damage or casualty has been reported from Sumba island.
(with inputs from news agencies)