The death toll in Indonesia’s twin quake-tsunami disaster rose to nearly 1,400 today. Government rescue workers are focusing on half a dozen key sites around the ravaged seaside city of Palu. The UN’s humanitarian office said, almost 2 lakh people need urgent help among them tens of thousands of children. An estimated 66,000 homes destroyed or damaged by the 7.5-magnitude quake and the tsunami.
The World Health Organisation has estimated that across Donggala, more than 3 lakh people have been affected by the disaster. Survivors are battling thirst and hunger, with food and clean water in short supply, and local hospitals are overwhelmed by the number of injured.
In yet another reminder of Indonesia’s vulnerability to natural disasters, the Soputan Volcano in Sulawesi erupted today, spewing volcanic ash up to 4,000 metres above the crater. The state disaster agency warned people to stay at least four kilometres. It said there was no need to evacuate for the time being.
Indonesia sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, the world’s most tectonically active region, and its 260 million people remain hugely vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
Indian Air Force (IAF) has started humanitarian relief mission to help earthquake and tsunami hit people of Indonesia. Official sources said, the IAF is taking part in the operation carrying National Disaster Response Force along with medical teams and other relief material.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephonic conversation with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and offered deepest condolences on the loss of lives in the recent earthquake and tsunami there. He offered all possible assistance to Indonesia.