Aid rolls into stricken city of Indonesia as death toll climbs

Published On: October 7, 2018 09:30 AM NPT By: Agencies

PALU, Oct 7: Search teams pulled bodies from obliterated neighbourhoods in the earthquake and tsunami-stricken Indonesian city of Palu as more international aid arrived and humanitarian workers fanned out in the countryside.

A Japanese Self Defence Force plane landed at Palu’s airport yesterday morning. Soldiers unloaded tonnes of supplies including medicine and small portable generators in boxes emblazoned with the Japanese flag and the words “From the People of Japan”. Several other nations have also sent planes.

The dead were still being recovered more than a week after the double disaster. Eight victims in black body bags of the national search and rescue agency were arranged in a row in the crumpled Palu neighbourhood of Balaroa, destined for a mass grave.

In the dusty one-road village of Pewunu, excited children shouted “Red Cross! Red Cross!” as one of the aid group’s medical teams arrived and set up a makeshift clinic in a field where evacuees were sleeping under tarps. One villager said they survived by ransacking shops.

Doctors performed medical checks on elderly residents who emerged from tents and climbed the stage’s stairs with canes or others supporting them.

People living in the camp said two residents died in collapsing houses in the village. They had clean water and noodles but not much else.

“There were supplies, but these were looted. All along the roads towards here, they were looted by outsiders,” said Bahamid Fawzi.

“All this while in this crisis, we don’t have water, we don’t have food,” he said.

“After that, we started ransacking the stores and the shops. Not because we’re thieves, but because we really needed it. There’s no water, no food – like it or not, we had to do it.” 

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