By: Kyle James | 10-03-2018 | News
Photo credit: @ajplus | Twitter

Indonesia Tsunami Update: 34 Bodies Found In Church Brings Death Toll Past 1,300

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The last time The Goldwater reported on the tragic natural disaster in Indonesia the death toll was around 800, now that number has nearly doubled in a few short days. The total number of deceased as a result of the earthquake and ensuing tsunami is now estimated to be over 1,300. 34 of those fatalities were students who were found trapped under the debris of a church when a mudslide hit the structure they were meeting in.

The earthquake has displaced around 50,000 people and volunteers dug mass graves for over 1,000 bodies for the last several days. The country has been no stranger to natural disasters but the most recent quake reached a 7.5 magnitude which caused a massive tsunami. The damage from the double natural disasters has been catastrophic for many regions and looting is going on in desperate areas.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">At least 34 children died during a Bible study held inside a church in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi following Friday&#39;s earthquake and tsunami, a relief group has said. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; The Christian Post (@ChristianPost) <a href="">October 2, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Related coverage: <a href="">Indonesia - Widespread Looting, Prison Breaks Mar Disaster Response Efforts</a>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Before and after images show the devastation of Indonesia&#39;s earthquake and tsunami <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; TIME (@TIME) <a href="">October 2, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The damage is so severe it can be seen in these stunning satellite images from Time. People in the central island of Sulawesi where the earthquake struck the hardest are so desperate for food and water they have resorted to looting. Now, police stand guarding shops against the desperate looters.

Deputy national police chief Ari Dono Sukmanto said police were going easy on survivors at first who were looting only basic necessities but some have since been arrested for stealing cash and electronics such as computers. "After day two the food supply started to come in, it only needed to be distributed," Sukmanto said. "We are now re-enforcing the law."

Related coverage: <a href="">Indonesia – Death Toll Jumps To 832, Fears For Thousands More (Video)</a>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">“That’s the question that people are asking, that we don’t have a ready answer to: Where is the massive govt response, the call for international aid?” <a href="">@MattRiversCNN</a> reports from Indonesia where more than 1,200 are dead and supplies are scarce after a massive earthquake/tsunami. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) <a href="">October 2, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Hospitals across Sulawesi are struggling to handle the hundreds of injured survivors and rescuers are still working to free those who are trapped in the ruins of a four-story hotel. There were an estimated 50 people in the Hotel Roa Roa when it collapsed. Rescue teams have recovered three survivors but even some of the hospitals were destroyed by the earthquake so finding treatment is difficult.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">This is the tsunami in Indonesia from a different view. This is probably the most heartbreaking view of total destruction. [Warning: Explicit content] <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; ❂ Yübbîę Umoh ❂ (@Yubbie007) <a href="">October 1, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Most of the deceased were from the tsunami-struck Palu where people were gathered for a festival on the beach when the wave struck. The rescuers who aren't helping survivors are helping to dig, transport and bury hundreds of bodies. Several people are being treated in makeshift, open-air hospitals as the number of injured survivors swells. Bodies lay strewn across the shore the following day after the tsunami and one man was spotted carrying the body of a young child in his arms.

Related coverage: <a href="">Latest Video: Indonesia Tsunami</a>

Fears that people could still be alive but are trapped under rubble are prompting rescue crews to continue through the night. Crews are also working to restore power and get supplies to the area. Indonesian Red Cross officials confirmed the bodies of 34 Indonesian students were found buried under a church. The group was among 86 students who were reported missing from a bible camp in the Jonooge Church Training Center.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">844 people are confirmed dead in Indonesia after a 7.5 earthquake triggered tsunami on Sulawesi island, and the death toll is expected to rise further. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; AJ+ (@ajplus) <a href="">October 1, 2018</a></blockquote>

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A spokesperson for the Indonesian Red Cross named Ridwan Sobri said, "The mud conditions in that area are terrible, we have to walk about one and a half hours to reach [the mudslide area], that makes it very difficult." The students have yet to be named or identified. Agus Haryono who is leading a rescue team said they were using acoustic detectors to try to locate more survivors. "We have to be very careful so we don't risk hurting any survivors," he said.

The President of the country Joko Widodo has called for reinforcements and asked for more police officers and soldiers in affected districts. "There are some main priorities that we must tackle and the first is to evacuate, find and save victims who've not yet been found," Wikodo said. Another reason rescue operations have been difficult is the massive blow to infrastructure caused by bridges being taken out. The severity of the tsunami is being attributed to the earthquake having more lateral than a vertical movement which doesn't typically set off tsunamis.

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Twitter: #Indonesia #Earthquake #Tsunami #NaturalDisaster #Palu #Sulawesi #PrayforIndonesia #Trump

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