Indonesian authorities on Tuesday said that the toll after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Sulawesi island last week has risen to to 1,347, reported the BBC, quoting the country’s disaster response management agency. Earlier in the day, the number of deaths was pegged at 1,234.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesperson of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said rescuers had reached all four of the badly-affected districts, reported Reuters. Together, these districts account for a population of 1.4 million. “We hope the death toll does not rise,” he said. “We’re continuing rescue operations but right now the team is racing against time.”
With many survivors still waiting for rescue and aid, President Joko Widodo is set to make his second visit to the disaster zone on Wednesday. Earlier, he directed the national search and rescue agency to dispatch more police officers and soldiers to the affected areas.
On Wednesday morning, at least seven cargo planes brought in tonnes of relief material to the coastal city of Palu, one of the worst affected areas. Humanitarian relief convoys entering the city were escorted by soldiers and police as there were reports of people looting food and essential items. The police are also guarding the shops.
While the officials initially took a lenient approach to survivors picking up essential items, Indonesia’s Deputy National Police Chief Ari Dono Sukmanto said that some have since been arrested for stealing computers and cash.
“After day two, the food supply started to come in, it only needed to be distributed,” he said. “We are now re-enforcing the law.”
Canada will provide $1.5 million (approximately Rs 10 crore) in financial assistance to support humanitarian organisations working on ground, said MP Marie-Claude Bibeau. Both Apple Inc and Google will donate $1 million (approximately Rs 7 crore) each to help relief efforts.
Earlier, Australia provided $360,000 (approximately Rs 2.6 crore) and the money was given to the Indonesian Red Cross to cover the cost of emergency aid needs, such as tarpaulins.