Indonesia tsunami: Search for survivors ends as death toll reaches 1500

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Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a briefing in Jakarta that the search will continue for hundreds still missing, including many buried in deep mud and debris from collapsed houses and buildings. Fuel remained another concern, with villagers forced to queue at pumps for more than six hours. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said security was being ramped up to ensure law and order after 92 people were arrested for looting goods such as motor oil, tires and farming equipment.

The national disaster agency says 1,700 homes in one neighbourhood alone were swallowed up and hundreds of people killed.

A woman cries as she attends a mass prayer for Palu at Talise beach for the one-week tsunami anniversary in Palu, Indonesia, October 5, 2018.

"If there is looting again, we will quickly fire a warning shot and then shoot to immobilise", he said.

"This is really a challenging and hard time for Indonesia and for all of us, but we are united and we stand strong and we are confident of withstanding this hard time", he told a briefing of the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club on Wednesday evening.

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"We have to distribute supplies as quickly as possible, especially to remote areas".

Authorities previously set a tentative deadline of Friday for finding anyone trapped under ruined buildings, although chances of pulling survivors alive from the rubble at such a late stage are nearly zero.

Indonesia plans to launch a new strategy to fund disaster recovery, which could include selling "catastrophe bonds", a government official said on Thursday, as the country faced up to the devastation from a huge quake and a tsunami. "I couldn't hold back my tears".

More than 66,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged following the tragedies.

PALU, Indonesia, Oct 5 (Reuters) - A week after a major quake brought devastation to Indonesia's Sulawesi island, Ichsan Hidayat told how the bodies of his sister and her 43-day-old daughter were found under a sea of mud and debris, the mother clutching her baby to her chest. "But not yet to the most inaccessible places", Sinta said.

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Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, who arrived Friday in Palu to assess the situation, said it will take at least two years to reconstruct the disaster zone. "Indonesians have a big heart".

According to Ali's testimony, a large group of people had gathered along the road that led to Donggala and Palu.

"I'm still confused", he said, when asked where he will pray now.

The magnitude 7.5 quake and the tsunami it generated devastated the city of Palu and nearby communities in Central Sulawesi province. Palu's port, a key transit point for aid, has been damaged.

In the main route north out of the city, an AFP journalist saw youths blocking the road and asking for "donations" to clear the way.

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A report from Reuters cites a minister who leads the fiscal policy unit of the financial ministry of the Indonesian government stating that the country wants to be better prepared and make use of the available financial tools to help mitigate the costs of disaster and aid with recovery.

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