The confirmed death toll from an earthquake and tsunami on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island has risen to 1,234, from 844, the national disaster agency said on Tuesday, as authorities struggled to reach affected areas due to damaged infrastructure.
Four days after the disaster hit Palu and other parts of Sulawesi Island, people say they have received little help from the government.
Abdullah Sidik, limping with an injured leg, said he was heading for evening prayers when the magnitude-7.5 quake struck just after 6pm on Friday and rushed back home to find his wife and daughters.
“The earth was pushing everything up,” he said. “In that moment, I was flailing around and was hit from behind by a concrete wall. Then I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t move and I lost my wife and daughters.”
“I hope we can get aid from the government. Please pay attention to us. Palu is part of Indonesia. It feels like a dead city,” Sidik said.
“I want to bury my wife and children. Please help me find them inside,” he said.
Some of the dead were taken to a mass grave on Tuesday a day after hundreds were given mass burials.
Indonesia tsunami: Death toll jumps as rescuers struggle
Al Jazeera’s Jamela Alindogan, reporting from Makassar, a port city in eastern Sulawesi, said help must come from abroad as the scale of the devastation has left everyone struggling to cope.
“If you look at the level of devastation caused by the disaster, we see that everybody is affected by it, police officers, rescue workers and even medical workers have also become victims of it,” she said.
“At this point, what is important is to clear logistics in order for aid to come in, all the roads coming into the areas affected must be covered.”
Thousands need emergency help
Nearly 200,000 people have been displaced and are in need of emergency help, while thousands have been streaming out of the stricken areas.
Rescuers have yet to reach many affected areas leading to fears the death toll could rise again.