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Indonesia limits foreign role in Sulawesi disaster relief

AP  |  Palu (Indonesia) 

Indonesia's disaster agency said Wednesday that it only needs tents, water treatment units, generators and transport from other countries as it responds to the Sulawesi earthquake and that killed more than 2,000 people.

The agency's spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said the death toll from the double disaster on Sept 28 has risen to 2,045, with most of the fatalities in the coastal city of Palu. More than 80,000 people are living in temporary shelters or otherwise displaced, he said.

Possibly 5,000 people are buried in obliterated parts of the city and its surroundings where the force of the quake liquefied the soil and sucked houses into the earth.

Kilometers of coastline were trashed by the and Nugroho said its waves were up to 11 metres high. A warning after the quake had predicted waves of 0.5 to 3 metres.

Nugroho reiterated at a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, that the for bodies will end Thursday with mass prayers in hard-hit neighbourhoods but volunteers and family members can continue searching.

Memorials will be constructed in hard-hit neighbourhoods such as Balaroa and Petobo, he said.

"People are traumatized. They don't want to go back" to those places, Nugroho said. "They asked to be relocated to another place and a house made for them."

After a rare appeal for international assistance, is now trying to limit foreign involvement in the disaster relief effort. Nugroho said there's no need for international aid other than the four priorities identified by

The disaster agency has circulated guidelines that say foreign aid workers can be in the field only with Indonesian partners. Groups that sent foreign personnel to the disaster zone are "advised to retrieve their personnel immediately," according to those guidelines.

International with Indonesian sister organizations say foreign personnel they want to send are being vetted by the government in a process that takes several days or longer.

In a belated response to the influx of international journalists, Nugroho said foreign reporters need to apply for a visa to report on the disaster. It's likely the majority have already left.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 10 2018. 15:55 IST
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