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

Some residents have taken to digging through reeking piles of sodden food and debris

Some residents have taken to digging through reeking piles of sodden food and debris

ATM chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin said so far they have not received any request from the Indonesian side but they are always ready.

Aid organisations have struggled to reach the city of Palu due to the wreckage - causing high levels of desperation among locals - with some now making their own makeshift homes from the rubble.

The U.N. says its humanitarian office is reporting that "needs are vast" following the natural disaster and tsunami in Indonesia, with people urgently requiring shelter, clean water, food, fuel and emergency medical care.

Military spokesman, M. Thohir, said the number of confirmed dead has risen to 1,411, while the disaster agency said 519 bodies have already been buried.

"I have ordered the police chief and military commander to deploy more personnel in guarding gas stations and business centres so as to make stores reopened, recover the economy in Palu", he said on Tuesday. Worldwide help in searching for survivors has gathered pace, but communities in more remote areas have been cut off by broken roads, communication remains crippled, people are still struggling to acquire the basic needs.

"The death toll rose by 17 compared to Wednesday's count, while the number of injured rose to 2,549 with more than 70,000 displaced people", Efe news reported.

"But we still can not be sure because there's a possibility that some people managed to get out", he said.

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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. "When a disaster strikes, the country would ask first and when there is a request we will come to help. Indonesians have a big heart". There were poignant scenes in Palu as hundreds of worshippers wearing skullcaps gathered by the coast, chanting and saying prayers out to sea.

"Today, I prayed that they are in a better place".

An aerial view of evacuation process near a collapsed church after an natural disaster in Sigi, south of Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, October 4, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.

In the main route north out of the city, an AFP journalist saw youths blocking the road and asking for "donations" to clear the way.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters in Washington: "We will be working very closely with the Indonesian government to make sure that the support we are providing is highly targeted".

Governments from Australia to Britain are flying in supplies, the United Nations has pledged $15 million to the relief effort, and aid groups including Save the Children and the Red Cross are also on the ground.

In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake off Sumatra and a subsequent tsunami killed about 230,000 people in 14 Pacific countries.

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