Indonesia extends quake and tsunami search operation

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Indonesia has extended by a day its search for victims of a 7.5 magnitude quake and tsunami on Sulawesi island at the request of relatives of the many still missing

A spokesperson for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency on Thursday said the search would go on until Friday evening, two weeks after the double disasters hit the southeast Asian country.

“The national search and rescue agency will handover its task to the Palu city search and rescue agency and they will continue the work,” National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Nugroho said.

Some 10,000 rescuers toiled on what would have been the final day of searching the ruins of the seaside city of Palu, as relatives hoped their loved ones could be found and given a proper burial.

The official death toll was raised to 2,073. No one knows how many people are yet to be found in Palu’s ruined neighbourhoods, but it could be as many as 5,000

‘Very little hope’

The government has said it needs to call off the search for bodies because of concern about the spread of disease, and begin to focus on the next phase – rebuilding.

Nearly 88,000 people were displaced and many living in crude shelters in the hills around Palu. The government is seeking 10,000 tents.