The official death toll from the 7.5 magnitude quake that hit the west coast of Sulawesi island last Friday rose to 1407. But officials fear the toll could soar, as most of the confirmed dead have come from Palu, 1500km north-east of Jakarta, and losses in remote areas remain unknown as communications are down, and bridges and roads have been destroyed.
National disaster mitigation agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said most of the aid effort had been concentrated in Palu, where electricity supply has yet to be restored. But rescue workers had begun to reach more remote areas in a disaster zone that encompasses 1.4 million people.
Johnny Lim, reached by phone in Donggala town, said he was surviving on coconuts. “It’s a zombie town. Everything’s destroyed. Nothing’s left,” he said over a bad line.“We’re on our last legs. There’s no food, no water.”
In another part of Donggala district, Ahmad Derajat said survivors were scavenging for food in fields.