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Central Sulawesi the latest after devastating tsunami and earthquake

Central Sulawesi the latest after devastating tsunami and earthquake

While the number of death is increasing in Sulawesi, in Central Sulawesi citizens have started to return to their homes, the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency said on Sunday.

Nearly 2,000 bodies have been recovered from Palu since an earthquake and tsunami struck the Indonesian city, an official said Monday, warning the number would rise with thousands still missing.

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 on Monday.

Authorities have said as many as 5,000 are believed missing in two hard-hit areas since the Sept 28 disaster – indicating far more may have perished than the current toll.

After reaching a peak of 70,821 last week, the number of displaced people has fallen to 62,359 in 147 locations across the province.

“[The survivors] cannot stay for very long in the displaced persons’ camps because [the children] must return to school soon,” BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said at a press conference on Sunday, adding that emergency schools may be set up using tents. Over 2,500 schools in Palu, Donggala and Sigi have been damaged in the disaster.

8,000 evacuees had also left Palu through both air and sea transportation to Makassar, South Sulawesi; Balikpapan, East Kalimantan; Jakarta; and Manado, North Sulawesi.

5,000 people were suspected to be missing in the Palu subdistricts of Balaroa and Petobo but that officials were still looking to verify the claims.

If a victim is not found after 14 days, then they will be declared missing.