Quantcast
Connect with us

Time running out in search for survivors of Indonesia’s devastating quake and tsunami

Published

on

Time was running out on Wednesday for anyone trapped in the rubble of a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, five days after disaster struck, while increasingly angry survivors waited for an aid operation to move into high gear.

The official death toll from the 7.5 magnitude quake that struck the west coast of the island of Sulawesi last Friday stood at 1,234, many killed by tsunami waves triggered by the quake.

ADVERTISEMENT

But officials fear the toll could soar, as most of the confirmed dead have come from Palu, a small city 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Jakarta, and losses in remote areas largely cut off since Friday have yet to be determined.

Underlining a growing sense of urgency, President Joko Widodo was due to make his second visit to the disaster zone on Wednesday. He made an initial visit less than two days after the quake struck.

At least seven cargo planes arrived at Palu airport early Wednesday morning carrying tonnes of aid, some bedecked in the red and white national colors and stamped with the presidential office seal declaring: “Assistance from the President of Republic of Indonesia”.

Widodo, who will seek re-election next year, is likely to face criticism if conditions do not improve quickly. He called on Tuesday for reinforcements in the search for survivors, saying everyone had to be found.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said late on Tuesday rescuers had reached all four of the badly affected districts, which together have a population of 1.4 million, but he declined to give an estimate of casualties.

“We hope the death toll does not rise,” he said. “We’re continuing rescue operations but right now the team is racing against time.”

ADVERTISEMENT

He gave few details of the conditions rescuers had found, saying they were similar to those in Palu.

The quake brought down hotels, shopping malls and countless houses in Palu, while tsunami waves as high as six meters (20 feet) scoured its beachfront shortly afterwards.

About 1,700 houses in one neighborhood were swallowed up by ground liquefaction, which happens when soil shaken by an earthquake behaves like a liquid, and hundreds of people are believed to have perished, the disaster agency said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Adding to Sulawesi’s woes, the Soputan volcano in the north of the island, about 600 km northeast of Palu, erupted early on Wednesday but there were no reports of any casualties or damage. Ash was not expected to disrupt flights.

GRAPHIC: Catastrophe in Sulawesi – tmsnrt.rs/2OqQlUo

QUESTIONS
More than 65,000 homes were damaged and more than 60,000 people have been displaced and are in need of emergency help.

ADVERTISEMENT

But supplies are tight.

“We need quite a lot of tents. Food, drinks, clean water and sanitation facilities are very much needed,” Nugroho said.

Major Amrullah, part of a military coordination team in Palu, said getting aid to those who need it was a major problem.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Fuel shortages and the lack of power is making it very difficult,” he said.

Police have done little to stop outbreaks of looting. The government has played down the problem, saying victims could take essentials and shops would be compensated.

The government has said it would accept offers of international aid, after shunning outside help earlier this year when an earthquake struck Lombok island.

ADVERTISEMENT

“There is still limited information about the full extent of the disaster and it is difficult to get aid and people into the affected areas,” Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the main U.N. aid coordinating agency, OCHA, said in Geneva on Tuesday.

Humanitarian agencies had been in communication with the government and were ready to help, he said.

“There is an immediate need for food, clean water, shelter, medical care and psycho-social support.”

ADVERTISEMENT

U.S. President Donald Trump extended condolences in a phone call with Widodo, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in Washington. The United States has provided initial funding, deployed government disaster experts and was working to determine what other help can be given, she said.

Sitting on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia has been struck by devastating earthquakes and tsunamis before. A quake in 2004 triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Widodo said on Tuesday a tsunami warning system set up after that disaster, which has been out of action since 2012, had to be repaired and properly maintained.

ADVERTISEMENT

Additional reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa, Maikel Jefriando, Tabita Diela, Gayatri Suroyo, Fransiska Nangoy, Fanny Potkin, Ed Davies and Fergus Jensen in JAKARTA, Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay in GENEVA and Matt Spetalnick in WASHINGTON; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Alex Richardson and Lincoln Feast

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

Published

on

The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting

Published

on

Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.

King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.

A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.

https://twitter.com/corinne_perkins/status/1162806565109473280

Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/sedespres/status/1162811223186006018

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

Published

on

Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image