The death toll from two earthquakes and a tsunami that hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island rose to 1407 yesterday, an official said, as hospitals struggled to cope with the high number of casualties amid a shortage of power and fuel.
More than 2550 were hospitalised with serious injuries and 113 were missing after Friday’s disaster, according to the National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho.
“We expect the figures will continue to increase,” he said.
More than 70000 have been forced from their homes, he added.
Some of the injured were being evacuated as hospitals in the city of Palu suffered power outages, according to Bambang Sadewo, a military officer charged with the evacuation.
“They need treatment but because there’s still no electricity, they can’t be treated in Palu,” he said.
Bambang added that 15 aircraft, including Hercules C-130 cargo planes, will be used to carry the injured to Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province.
At Palu’s Mutiara Al Jufri Airport, injured victims were being treated in army camp beds, with some wearing leg and arm casts.
Rifki, one of the patients awaiting evacuation, said he and his wife had been severely injured in the earthquake. “The ground below us suddenly moved like a blender and crushed our feet,” he said. “There’s no way we can get treatment here. There are no facilities or drugs. We have been given only painkillers.”
On Wednesday, rescuers found 10 bodies under the ruins of a collapsed eight-storey hotel, local news channel Metro TV reported. Aid has begun to arrive however the pace remained slow due to damaged infrastructure.
President Joko Widodo, who visited Palu for a second time yesterday, said the government was doing all it could to bring aid to the victims.
Elsewhere on Sulawesi island, the Mount Soputan volcano erupted yesterday, sending ash 4km into the sky, the national disaster management agency said.