The number of people known to have died in Indonesia in Friday’s earthquake and tsunami has risen to more than 1,200. However, Joko Widodo, the head of state cannot give the exact number of the dead. Jakarta Post reports that the number of victims can reach 2,000 people, and at least 16 thousand people have left their homes in the central part of the island.
The earthquake of magnitude 6.1 near the island of Sulawesi occurred in the early morning of September 28. The second blow already had a magnitude 7.5. After they were followed by many aftershocks that reached 170 by Sunday. Subsequently, the jolts caused a tsunami wave up to 6 m in height. The city of Palu and the villages around were the most affected. Across Palu, blocked roads, a damaged airport, and broken telecommunications have made it difficult to bring help into the affected area, and impossible to contact more remote regions. However, Indonesian Red Cross officials have stated that the bodies of 34 students were found under a church buried by a mudslide. “The mud conditions in that area are terrible, we have to walk about 1.5 hours to reach the area, and that makes it very difficult,” Ridwan Sobri, a spokesperson for the Indonesian Red Cross.
Indonesia has also appealed to the international community for assistance in emergency response. The European Commission has started to provide financial support on behalf of the EU. A number of states have previously expressed their willingness to provide financial and humanitarian assistance.