Deadline approaches for finding Indonesia quake, tsunami survivors

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Of the more than 1,500 people who were killed in the catastrophe, the vast majority hailed from the city of almost 300,000.

National disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Friday the death toll stands at 1,571. Officials say the toll will rise.

No one knows how many people were dragged to their deaths in the roiling quagmire in Petobo and nearby areas south of Palu, which were particularly hard hit by liquefaction. Figures for more remote areas, some still cut off by destroyed roads and landslides, are only trickling in, if at all.

Initially, the country was hesitant to accept foreign aid but the scope of the disaster changed their minds.

The Indonesian government initially refused to accept global help, insisting its own military could handle the response, but as the scale of the disaster became clear President Joko Widodo reluctantly agreed to allow in foreign aid groups and governments. He announced an allocation of $15m.

A week on from the disaster in Indonesia's Sulawesi some roads remain impassable, detritus is scattered everywhere and terrified people are sleeping outside for fear of further quakes. Marsudi said 18 countries had offered help and the government was still working out arrangements with some countries, including Japan and the United States.

He said a multinational operation to fly aid supplies to disaster zones has been staged out of Balikpapan - a port city 380km west of Palu. After days of initial chaos and looting by desperate survivors, some stability has returned to Palu, with shops slowly reopening and electricity restored in some parts of the city.

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Orderly queues formed at petrol stations after the arrival of fuel shipments and late in the day, traffic lights and televisions flickered back to life as the power came back on.

Indonesian Central Bank governor Perry Warjiyo played down the overall impact on Southeast Asia's biggest economy of the disaster in Sulawesi, and of earlier deadly quakes on the tourist island of Lombok. Indonesia is located on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

Indonesia and its 18,000 islands are located along the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire" and are frequently struck by quake, volcano and tsunami activity.

Safety measures implemented after that disaster, including tsunami warning systems, failed on Friday for various reasons, including government neglect, a lack of funding and vandalism.

A network of tsunami-detecting buoys has been out of action since 2012.

Responding to the developing situation, Indonesian President Joko Widodo issued an order to immediately restore the economy in Palu and fix the damaged infrastructure so as to secure distribution of logistics.

Search efforts focused on eight key locations on Friday, including a beach and the Balaroa area.

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