Indonesia’s grim search for disaster dead nears its end

Soldiers and rescue workers carry the remains of recovered victims in Balaroa neighbourhood in Palu

Soldiers and rescue workers carry the remains of recovered victims in Balaroa neighbourhood in Palu

The 6.0-magnitude natural disaster struck off the coast of Indonesia's Bali and Java islands in the early hours, jolting residents awake and sending them rushing into the streets.

Indonesia's most populous Java island is next to the main tourist island of Bali, where the IMF-World Bank annual meetings are being held this week.

The 7.5-magnitude quake and wall of water that tore through the city on Sulawesi island on September 28 killed more than 2,000 and left thousands more missing, presumed dead. "We are specifically concerned about women and children affected, and who so often suffer disproportionately during humanitarian emergencies".

"Here in Palu, I saw first-hand the destruction caused by the recent natural disaster and tsunami", Guterres said on Twitter during the visit.

"All my neighbours were also running".

The search for those killed in Indonesia's quake-tsunami disaster was called off Thursday, despite there being around 5,000 people still missing.

Guterres paid a visit Friday to the city of Palu on Sulawesi island during a trip to Bali to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Entire villages were sucked into the earth at Balaroa when soil turned to mush under the force of the quake.

Zainurrohman, a 21-year-old from the district told AFP.

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"We hope the families understand that there's very little hope at this point", said search volunteer Hadrianos Poliamar. Many Indonesians go by one name.

The accident mitigation agency, shows the damages from an natural disaster in East Java's Sumenep district on October 11, 2018.

It shook buildings for several seconds on nearby Bali with some residents briefly leaving their homes in the island's capital Denpasar.

Local rescue efforts to recover the bodies of victims from the quake and tsunami that devastated the Indonesian island of Sulawesi last month will cease on Thursday, the country's National Board for Disaster Management said in a statement Sunday.

There are no exact figures of how many people are missing, but it could be as high as 5,000, according to the Indonesia's national disaster agency.

Ahmed Bham, from South African charity Gift of the Givers, was told that new rules barred foreign urban search and rescue teams (USAR) from playing any part in retrieving the dead.

"We've got experienced search and rescue teams here in Indonesia with really specialised equipment".

The country is still reeling from an quake and tsunami last month that killed more than 2,000 people.

Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and numerous world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

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