Confirmed deaths near 2000, still more likely in Indonesia

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While grappling with immediate relief needs, the government is also mapping out plans to help more than 70,000 people, including tens of thousands of children, who have been displaced by the disasters to rebuild their lives. No one knows how many people were dragged to their deaths when the ground under Petobo and nearby areas south of Palu dissolved so violently. "It's a long-term job, but after that, they'll come with the heavy machinery", Allibert told Reuters.

Among them was 39-year-old Rudy Rahman, who said the bodies of his 18- and 16-year-old sons had been found. "Allah willing, heaven for him".

Men with skull caps sat on prayer mats in an open field, some weeping openly.

The students found out that they had to turn up to school through messages on Facebook and WhatsApp.

Indonesia's disaster relief agency says the death toll has climbed to over 1,700, with more than 5,000 people still missing.

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

Indonesia's National Board for Disaster Management says, as of Saturday, 1,649 people have been confirmed dead, and more than 60,000 have been forced to evacuate.

Still, he asserted that it did not mean that the search mission was to end on that day. The equipment can identify breathing and heartbeats, but gas leaks and other factors can result in false positives. Now we have nothing at all. "We have vaccinated our teams, but we need to be extra cautious".

Soldiers and rescue workers carry the remains of recovered victims from last week's quake in the Balaroa neighbourhood in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia on Saturday.

Local rescuers continued to dig at the collapsed four-star hotel.

The number of people who were missing or believed to be buried under the debris were 683 and 152 respectively, he said.

But some residents refused to give up hope. More than 8,000 either injured or vulnerable residents have been flown or shipped out of Palu, while others could have left by land, he said. After days of initial chaos and looting by desperate survivors, some stability has returned to Palu, with shops slowly reopening and electricity restored in some parts of the city. He said security will be necessary for economic activity to resume. Soldiers unloaded tons of supplies, including medicine and small portable generators, in boxes emblazoned with the Japanese flag and the words "From the People of Japan".

This footage shows destruction in Palu on October 3.

A floating hospital run by the Indonesian navy and docked in Palu has already assisted with the delivery of four babies, local media reported.

'Palu's ordeal is the grief for all of us and that's why everyone is lending a hand to help, ' he said.

Global volunteers said many camps lack adequate sanitation, sparking fears of the spread of disease. Numerous missing are believed to be dead as rescue efforts enter its second and final week. "Many children are traumatised and frightened".

"I grabbed my children and fled to the hills when the quake happened".

Evacuees had queued to get on to the Hercules C-130, many carrying backpacks and bags, and said they had lost homes and relatives, a New Zealand Defence Force statement said.

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