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UN chief tours tsunami-hit Indonesian city

AFP  |  Palu 

Antonio on Friday visited the disaster-ravaged Indonesian city of Palu, where an earthquake and killed 2,000 people and left thousands more missing, presumed dead.

A 7.5-magnitude quake and a wall of water struck the city on Sulawesi island on September 28, leaving entire neighbourhoods in ruins and 200,000 people desperate for humanitarian assistance.

Rescue teams scoured the wreckage for a fortnight before calling off the search for the dead, acknowledging as many as 5,000 missing people would never be found.

and Indonesian Vice toured one of the worst-hit areas, and spoke with survivors being treated at an outdoor tent hospital and evacuation centre.

"We are with the people of and Sulawesi," said after surveying the devastation at Balaroa, a hard-hit neighbourhood in

Entire villages were sucked into the earth at Balaroa when soil turned to mush under the force of the quake.

Monuments are planned to remember untold numbers of victims buried by soil and rubble.

"The UN is with you to support government-led rescue and relief efforts," Guterres posted on his account, accompanied by a photograph of broken and destroyed houses.

Rescuers struggled to retrieve the dead, the grim job compounded as mud hardened and bodies decomposed in the tropical heat.

The is over, but attention is shifting to the massive clean up and relief mission to assist survivors.

The UN has sought USD 50.5 million for urgent relief to assist survivors in need. initially refused international help but four days after the disaster reluctantly agreed to allow in overseas aid.

Getting vital supplies to affected areas has proved challenging as flights into remain limited by its small airport, and is slow.

Aid organisations say a dearth of clean drinking water and medical supplies remains a very real concern in the coastal city of 350,000.

Nearly 90,000 people were displaced by the quake, forcing them into evacuation centres across the rubble-strewn city.

Officials said it could be two years before all the homeless are found permanent accommodation.

sits in the world's most tectonically active region, and its 260 million people are vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

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

First Published: Fri, October 12 2018. 13:20 IST