Quake in Indonesia: the number of victims exceeded 1,640

Logistics Specialist Corporal Karyn Kjestrup with an Indonesian man and his son being evacuated on the RNZAF aircraft

NZDF evacuates 120 quake survivors on Hercules aircraft from Palu

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said all of the victims of the 7.5 magnitude natural disaster and tsunami that struck the west coast of Sulawesi island on September 28, killing more than 1,600 people, must be found.

The official death toll from last week's quake and the tsunami it triggered stands at 1,571, but it will certainly rise.

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Hidayat was not on Sulawesi last on Friday when the 7.5 magnitude quake struck, triggering a phenomenon called soil liquefaction, which turns the ground into a roiling quagmire.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, visiting the disaster zone, said recovery would be completed in two years, beginning with a two-month emergency response phase when everyone who lost their house would get temporary shelter.

PALU, Indonesia- Rescuers picking through the grim aftermath of Indonesia's quake-tsunami issued a fresh public health warning Saturday as more decaying corpses were unearthed from beneath the ruined city of Palu.

"Evacuation stops on October 11", the national disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news briefing, using an Indonesian word that applies to the search and retrieval of both living and dead people.

Philip Besson, a member of the French organization Pompiers de l'urgence, said the team "detected the presence of a victim" in the wreckage of the Mercure Hotel but wasn't able to say if the person is conscious.

"They erupted in cheers and gave a thumbs-up sign before we took off", Natapu said.

More than 1,400 people were killed in last Friday's natural disaster and tsunami.

An evacuee and his son stand near his tent after Friday prayers outside a damaged mosque caused by the massive quake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia Oct. 5, 2018.

The most intact structure in the area was a battered two-storey house, pitched over at almost 45 degrees with one side buried and a blue vehicle in the auto port.

'Most of the bodies we have found are not intact, and that poses a danger for the rescuers.

The government shunned foreign aid this year when earthquakes struck the island of Lombok but it accepted help from overseas for Sulawesi.

But the trickle of worldwide aid to Palu and local efforts to help the survivors have accelerated in recent days.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman of Indonesia's Mitigation and Disaster Agency (BNPB), holds a second news conference to brief reporters, September 29, 2018.

Indonesia sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire", the world's most tectonically active region, and its 260 million people are vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.

Indonesian officials expect Palu's airport to re-open later in the day as the Indonesian military is bringing in more troops to assist with security and the search effort.

Several other nations have also sent planeloads of aid.

"Our Hercules was one of the first two foreign aircraft to deliver aid to Palu and Indonesian soldiers cheered as we offloaded the supplies yesterday". Officials have said that it is not safe for heavy equipment to operate in those areas and that they fear the risk of the spread of disease from decomposed bodies. The archipelago sees frequent earthquakes and occasional tsunamis. But they also had hope more aid would pour into the city of Palu and the surrounding Donggala district on the island of Sulawesi. The death toll has topped 1500.

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