Indonesia mulls making quake areas mass graves


Australia is providing additional support to Indonesia in the wake of the devastating natural disaster and tsunami which struck Sulawesi on 28 September. Countries including the UK, US, Australia, India and Japan have sent in millions of dollars worth of aid, but food and water remain in short supply, and the Red Cross said it had treated around 1,800 people in its clinics.

He said on local television that survivors in the outlying villages in Petobo, Balaroa and Jono Oge could be relocated and monuments be built in the areas, which now look like wastelands, to remember the victims interred there.

Security minister Wiranto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said eventually the worst-hit areas would have to be declared mass graves and left untouched.

The spokesman estimated that 5,000 people could still be missing in Baleroa and Petobo, which had been badly hit by soil liquefaction - a process where the soil becomes saturated with water, causing it to erupt into torrents that topple buildings.

"There was a palpable sense of relief from the evacuees when they got into our Herc", he said.

Adam Switzer, a tsunami expert at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, said from evidence so far it appeared the tsunami in Palu was generated by a submarine landslide, something most warning systems would not pick up.

Balaroa was one of the areas hardest hit by the September 28 magnitude 7.5 quake, which threw homes in the neighborhood tens of meters and left cars upright or perched on eruptions of concrete and asphalt.

The tragic fallout of a fatal quake and tsunami in Indonesia has left more than 5,000 missing while the death toll has reached 1,763.

He provided the updated figure Sunday at a news conference in Jakarta. Relief aid started arriving in the more remote areas of Sulawesi Island.

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Muhlis, whose uncle was still missing in Balaroa, said the missing and dead should be honoured respectfully.

"We don't want the community to be relocated to such unsafe places", he said.

Frustrated French rescuers resumed their search at the Mercure Hotel in Palu on Friday but failed to detect the possible sign of life that was picked up by their sensors a day earlier.

"Indonesia is in the Ring of Fire (home to 75% of the world's volcanoes and 70% of its earthquakes) so earthquakes and tsunamis are not unusual".

"I don't want her to feel like her father never tried to find her".

The disaster struck part of Sulawesi two weeks ago, leaving at least 1,754 dead and another 2,549 injured. With nearly no effort he unearths the body of a long-haired lady buried in mud. The archipelago sees frequent earthquakes and occasional tsunamis.

"We are so relieved to be alive but sad because so many of our congregation died", said Dewi Febriani, a 26-year-old economics student, after a service in a tent set up outside her damaged church.

Communities in the south of Palu were particularly hard hit. Many of lie buried in the mud.

Almost a week after a magnitude 7.5 quake spawned a deadly tsunami on Indonesia's island of Sulawesi, countless people have yet to find their loved ones _ both survivors and the dead.