5000 feared missing as search for Indonesia quake victims continues

UK and Indonesian Aid being loaded onto an RAF A400M aircraft in Jakarta Indonesia bound for Balikpapan to be distributed to the earthquake and tsunami hit island of Sulawesi. Friday

NZDF evacuates 120 quake survivors on Hercules aircraft from Palu

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Volunteers are burying more victims in a mass grave a week after a powerful quake and tsunami hit the Indonesian city of Palu.

The official death toll from the September 28 disaster rose to 1,763.

Hundreds of people are believed to be entombed in slowly drying mud that enveloped communities in the south of the small city of Palu when the quake triggered soil liquefaction, a phenomenon that turns the ground into a roiling quagmire. The death toll has topped 1500. We have to be very careful to avoid contamination, ' Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for Indonesia's search and rescue effort, said from Palu.

At one state high school, teenagers dressed in grey and white uniforms swept up broken glass in the classrooms. He said security will be necessary for economic activity to resume. "They found them holding each other".

"We are perplexed and frustrated mostly".

"We have vaccinated our teams, but we need to be extra cautious as they are exposed to health hazards".

"Most of the victims were found in Palu and they were hit by tsunami, particularly in the coastal areas near Talise beach", the spokesman said.

This footage shows destruction in Palu on October 3.

School principal Abdul Rashid said he was aware of four students killed in the quake.

Rescuers who recovered the bodies told Hidayat his sister was found holding Aisah close.

"I don't think we're ready".

Many villagers remained traumatized as aftershocks continued to jolt the region. "I fully get it, they don't want anyone to come in", he said. Numerous missing are believed to be dead as rescue efforts enter its second and final week. But they also had hope more aid would pour into the city of Palu and the surrounding Donggala district on the island of Sulawesi.

Sulawesi is one of Indonesia's five main islands and, like the others, is exposed to frequent earthquakes and tsunamis. The archipelago sees frequent earthquakes and occasional tsunamis. 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.

Indonesian rescue workers will stop searching for the bodies of victims of an quake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi on Thursday, the national disaster mitigation agency said on Sunday.

Nugroho said the debris would be removed from those places and they would be turned into public spaces like parks and sports venues.

Major General Tim Gall said the Hercules and a 14-member NZDF detachment would continue to help transport aid and emergency responders to Palu and evacuate displaced people.

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

An International Monetary Fund/World Bank meeting that the governmetn is hosting on the island of Bali this week has drawn some criticism from the political opposition.

Thousands of people living in tents and shelters in the Indonesian city hit by a powerful natural disaster and tsunami are facing an uncertain future, unsure when they will be able to rebuild.

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