Devastating earthquake and tsunami hits Indonesia

A devastating earthquake and tsunami has hit Indonesia leaving at least 844 people confirmed dead. That figure is due to rise.

The authorities have said they will begin burying victims in mass graves, fearing disease could begin to spread.

Dozens of people are thought to be trapped alive under the rubble.

In Palu, rescuers are awaiting heavy machinery to search the ruins of a hotel and a shopping centre as aftershocks made it unsafe for them to go in.

“Communication is limited, heavy machinery is limited… it’s not enough for the numbers of buildings that collapsed,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the region to urge a “day and night” effort to rescue survivors.

Muslim Aid charities are working on the ground to provide relief.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla has said the final death toll could be in the thousands while the Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected.

 

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