PH condoles with quake-hit Indonesia; to provide financial aid


Indonesia's disaster agency says the death toll from the quake and tsunami that struck the Sulawesi island last week has risen to 1,649.

During a press conference, National Agency for Disaster Management spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that the number of injured people rose to 2,549 and more than 70,000 were displaced.

The small city of 370,000 people has been the focus of the aid effort launched after last Friday's 7.5 magnitude natural disaster and tsunami on the west coast of Sulawesi island.

Six more victims were buried Friday in a mass grave, bringing the total to 643.

A man stands amid the damage near boats swept ashore by the tsunami in Wani village on the outskirts of Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.

Improvised white flags - a pillow case or duvet cover - fly outside many homes, signifying a death in the family. The death toll is now above 1,500, but that could rise as central areas of the hard-hit island have not yet been reached.

Some roads remain impassable, detritus from the tsunami is scattered everywhere, and terrified people are sleeping outside in makeshift camps for fear of more quakes.

At least 600,000 children have been affected by the quake, Save the Children said, with many sleeping on the streets among ruins.

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Photo taken on October 4, 2018 shows a collapsed mosque in the wake of an quake in Palu, Indonesia.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, visiting the disaster zone, said recovery would be completed in two years, beginning with a two-month emergency response phase when everyone who lost their house would get temporary shelter.

"A disaster could come anytime, no one can predict, but whenever it occurs, we must have the capacity to address it", Nazara told reporters on the sidelines of a book launch by the International Monetary Fund and Bank Indonesia.

Villagers rushed a Red Cross helicopter that landed in a floodplain in Sigi district, south of Palu, on Friday to drop off blankets and tents, a Reuters witness said. "Indonesians have a big heart".

It should be mandatory for all infrastructure projects to be screened to ensure they are equipped to handle disasters and are then maintained, said Arghya Sinha Roy, a disaster risk specialist at the Asian Development Bank in Manila.

Worldwide aid is beginning to arrive, including supplies from Britain and Australia, after the government overcame a traditional reluctance to accept help from overseas.

An airport damaged by the natural disaster in central Indonesia is expected to re-open to civilian traffic later Thursday.

They are supporting search and rescue efforts, transporting the deceased, helping the survivors with first aid and medical treatment, and handing out plastic sheeting for shelter and sleeping mats so people have somewhere dry to sleep.