Monday, October 22, 2018 12:04:54 AM
Nearly 2,000 bodies have been recovered from Indonesia's disaster-ravaged Palu city, an official said Monday, as the search for victims ended at a hotel destroyed in the powerful earthquake and tsunami.
The death toll from the twin disaster on Sulawesi island that erased whole suburbs in Palu has reached 1,944, said local military spokesman M. Thohir.
"That number is expected to rise, because we have not received orders to halt the search for bodies," Thohir, who is also a member of the government's official Palu quake taskforce, told AFP.
Authorities have said as many as 5,000 are believed missing in two hard-hit areas since the September 28 disaster-indicating far more may have perished than the current toll.
Hopes of finding anyone alive have faded and the search for survivors amid the wreckage has turned to gathering and accounting for the dead.
The disaster agency said the official search for the unaccounted would continue until October 11 at which point they would be listed as missing, presumed dead.
But rescuers called off the search Monday at Hotel Roa-Roa, which was reduced to a tangled mess of twisted rebar and smashed concrete by the force of the quake.
The hotel emerged as an early focus of efforts to extract survivors, with seven people pulled alive from its mangled ruins in the immediate aftermath.
But nobody else was saved as the days passed, and optimism faded as corpses surfaced from the wreckage.
"The SAR (search and rescue) operation at Hotel Roa-Roa has ended, because we have searched the entire hotel and have not found any more victims," Bambang Suryo, SAR field director in Palu, told AFP.
Agus Haryono, another SAR official at the scene who confirmed the search was off, said 27 bodies were recovered from the hotel including three pulled from the debris Sunday.
Among the confirmed dead were five paragliders in Palu for a competition, including an Asian Games athlete and a South Korean, the only known foreign victim in the disaster.
Authorities believed the 80-room hotel was near capacity when the district was ravaged by a 7.5 magnitude quake and tsunami and estimated 50 to 60 people could be trapped inside.
Rescuers have struggled to extract bodies from the wreckage of Palu, a job made worse as mud hardens and bodies decompose in the tropical heat.
The government has said some flattened areas will be declared as mass graves, and left untouched.
Balaroa resident Sarjono agreed with sealing off the obliterated neighbourhood where vast numbers of bodies are believed trapped beneath the ruins.
"But only if they help us relocate elsewhere. If they don't, where will we live?" the 50-year-old told AFP near the debris of his former home.
Gopal, whose aunt and uncle were missing in Balaroa, picked through wreckage knowing just days were left to find his loved ones. "Even if they (search teams) stop looking, we will still try to find them ourselves," said the 40-year-old who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name.
"When we can no longer do it ourselves, we leave it to Allah."
Excavators and rescuers combed Balaroa on Monday, where a massive government housing complex was all but swallowed up by the disaster.
Officials say as many as 5,000 people were feared buried at Balaroa and Petobo, another decimated community.
Petobo, a cluster of villages, was subsumed when vibrations from the 7.5-magnitude quake turned soil to quicksand-a process known as liquefaction.
Relief efforts have escalated to assist 200,000 people in desperate need. Food and clean water remain in short supply, and many are dependent entirely on handouts to survive.
Helicopters have been running supply drops to more isolated communities outside Palu, where the full extent of the damage is still not entirely clear.
The Red Cross said Monday it had treated more than 1,800 people at clinics and administered first aid to a similar number in the immediate disaster zone.
Indonesia sits along the world's most tectonically active region, and its 260 million people are vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
Bangladeshi opening batsman Imrul Kayes proved his worth scoring his 3rd ODI century with career best 144 runs in a tough situation against Zimbabwe in the first match of the three-match ODI series at the home of Bangladesh Cricket-Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday.When Bangladesh were losing wickets on ...
Unai Emery admits Arsenal will struggle to cope with a draining schedule that sees them host Leicester at the start of three games in seven days.Emery's side will be pushed to the limit by the television schedulers, who moved their Premier League clash with the Foxes to Monday evening at ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Shahnoor loves acting in different roles. She always feels comfortable to present herself in challenging roles. For this reason, she was seen to act in such type of roles in recently acted movies. As a part of its continuation, she is going to work in a challenging ...
AFP, Moscow: Withdrawing from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with Russia as US President Donald Trump has announced he plans to do is a dangerous step, Russia's deputy foreign minister warned on Sunday."This would be a very dangerous step that, I'm sure, not only will not be comprehended by ...
The Saudi Kingdom has ultimately confirmed that writer and critic Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul city. Saudi state media reported Khashoggi was killed in "fist-fight" with the Kingdom's officials inside its consulate. The announcement marked a U-turn from the Kingdom, which had previously denied ...
Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi criticized Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's "authoritarian rule" shortly before his death, in an interview published following confirmation he died at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.Speaking off the record to a Newsweek journalist working on a story about the Saudi leadership, he insisted he did not view ...
AFP, Rio De Janeiro :More than 350 economists -- among them a Nobel Prize winner -- have signed a declaration saying Brazil's frontrunner to be president, far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro, is not the best choice for his country.The experts stated that Bolsonaro's leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, was "the best alternative" ...
A biopic based on the life of a T-series honcho Gulshan Kumar is in the pipeline, but looks like the film is facing a lot of hurdles. After the director of the film Subhash Kapoor was accused in the ongoing #MeToo movement of sexual misconduct, Aamir Khan who was co-producing ...
Vidya Balan is one the top actresses of Bollywood. She has the ability to captivate the audience with her performances. Vidya has already impressed the audience with her brilliant performance in the biopic of Silk Smita that was titled The Dirty Picture and now the actress is set to do ...
THE European Union has decided not to deploy an election observation mission during the 11th parliamentary election in Bangladesh due by January 28 next year. This has been conveyed to the Election Commission in a diplomatic note. A copy of the note verbale was also handed over to the commission ...
AFP, Abu Dhabi :Medium pacer Mohammad Abbas took his maiden ten-wicket haul in a match to fire Pakistan to a 373-run win over Australia in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Friday.Abbas followed his 5-33 in the first innings with figures of 5-62 to wreck Australia for 164 after ...
Ever since the intriguing trailer of Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Katrina Kaif starrer Thugs of Hindostan has been unveiled, there is much excitement around the film. The film is one of the biggest releases of the year and will hit the silver screens on November 8. ...