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Indonesia's quake, tsunami reaches 1,571, search mission extended


Jakarta: The death toll in Indonesia's powerful earthquake and an ensuing tsunami in Sulawesi Island jumped to 1,571 on Friday while search and rescue for the victims was extended, officials said.

During a press conference, National Agency for Disaster Management spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that the number of injured people rose to 2,549 and more than 70,000 were displaced. A total of 1,551 people were buried in mass graves, Efe news reported.

Rescue workers were working against the clock to find any remaining survivors, with humanitarian groups estimating that up to 1,000 people were buried under the rubble. Sutopo said that as many as 437 aftershocks occurred by Friday with the intensity weakening.

In Palu city -- one of the most affected areas -- the power grid was 60 per cent out of action, according to the state-owned power company which hopes to restore power by October 14.

Most of the casualties were recovered in Palu and the districts of Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Mountong.

Some 800 people had to spend the night at the airport as they waited to get out of the city, where a large number of personnel from humanitarian organisations were present.

The Red Cross was set to distribute non-perishable food in the Sigi regency where the organization would participate in search operations for dozens of children buried under a mudslide at a Bible camp.

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