Indonesia Tsunami-Earthquake: Death toll rises to 1,234, rescuers say toll may increase

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The death toll in Indonesia’s Suwalesi Island has risen to 1,234, the national mitigation agency confirmed on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Rescuers have not been able to reach all affected persons yet, fearing that the death toll may rise in the coming days.

Earlier, scores of children were killed in a mudslide that hit their church. Rescuers discovered the bodies of 34 students buried in the landslide, Indonesia Red Cross spokeswoman Aulia Arriani told AFP news agency on Tuesday.

“A total of 34 bodies were found by the team,” Arriani said and added that 86 students had initially been reported missing from the Bible camp at the Jonooge Church Training Centre in Sigi Biromaru district.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on Monday contacted Indonesian President Joko Widodo and offered assistance, following an earthquake and tsunami that led to loss of hundreds of lives in Palu town, PTI reported.

Modi offered condolences on the loss of lives in the recent earthquake and tsunami that hit the Sulawesi region of Indonesia, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

Modi also commended the resilience and courage of the people of Indonesia in facing the challenges emanating from the widespread devastation due to the grave natural calamity, it said.

After an international appeal by the country for aid, Modi offered all possible assistance from India as a maritime neighbor and as a friend of Indonesia.

The two leaders decided that the details of India’s relief assistance would be worked out through diplomatic and official channels.

The death toll has climbed to 844, following an earthquake and a Tsunami that crashed the town of Palu and trapped dozens under half-decapitated buildings, Reuters reported. Landslides hit nearby villages, engulfing more citizens.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the death toll could rise into the thousands.

Earlier, the US Geological Survey said the strongest quake had a magnitude of 7.5 and was centred at a depth of 6 miles (10 kilometres) about 35 miles (56 kilometres) northeast of the central Sulawesi town of Donggala. It briefly triggered a tsunami warning.

Indonesia is known to be regularly a victim of earthquakes, being in the center of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Earlier, in August, major earthquakes led to upto 500 people being killed in Lombok and destruction of several villages along the northern coast.

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