Indonesia tsunami death toll rises to 1,234 as desperate search for victims continues

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The confirmed death toll from an earthquake and tsunami on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island has risen to 1,234, from 844, the national disaster mitigation agency said on Tuesday.

A 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Friday triggered tsunami waves as high as six meters (20 feet), which swept ashore at the small city of Palu, on the west coast of Sulawesi.

Rescuers have yet to reach many affected areas leading to fears the death toll could rise again.

The quake hit about 250 km (155 miles) southwest of Ende on Flores.

Indonesia has said it would accept offers of international aid, having shunned outside help earlier this year when an earthquake struck the island of Lombok.

The number of confirmed deaths stood at 844 on Tuesday, most of them in Palu, the main city in the disaster zone, where rescuers were hunting for victims in the ruins.

“We suspect there are still some survivors trapped inside,” the head of on rescue team, Agus Haryono, told Reuters at the collapsed seven-story Hotel Roa Roa.

© Credits: REUTERS

About 50 people were believed to have been trapped when the hotel was brought down by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Friday.

a man standing next to a machine © Credits: REX/Shutterstock

The quake triggered tsunami waves as high as six meters (20 feet) that smashed into the city’s beachfront, about 2 km from the hotel.

About 12 people have been recovered from the ruins of the hotel, three of them alive.

A mass burial of victims began on the weekend as a 100m long grave was dug for more than a thousand victims.

The burial saw teams of workers, faces covered by masks, laying 18 body bags in a trench, according to reports.

In the hills over Palu, volunteers have dug a 100m long grave, preparing to lay 1,300 victims to rest, the Guardian reported.

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