PM Narendra Modi offers assistance to tsunami-hit Indonesia

The earthquake off Sulawesi island triggered a tsunami which hit Palu and Donggala

Image The earthquake off Sulawesi island triggered a tsunami which hit Palu and Donggala

Desperation exploded into anger four days after an natural disaster and tsunami decimated parts of the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, leaving hungry residents grabbing food from damaged stores on Tuesday and begging the president for help.

It has been four days since the earth violently shook when the massive 7.5-magnitude quake struck, triggering a tsunami almost 20-feet-tall which smashed right into Palu.

Rescuers are yet to reach numerous affected areas, leading to fears the death toll could rise further.

Powerful and shallow quakes of 6.0, 7.4 and 6.1 magnitude which were followed by a tsunami struck the province on Friday with Palu, the capital of the province, and Donggala district as the hardest-hit areas.

Dozens of people were reported to be trapped in the rubble of several hotels and a mall in the small city of Palu, 930 miles northeast of Jakarta, according to Reuters.

With bodies piling up at medical facilities and concerns rising about disease, authorities in Palu began a mass burial, lining the dead side-by-side in a giant, freshly dug grave that could accommodate hundreds.

Another body was pulled out from the ruins of the 80-room Hotel Roa-Roa where more than 50 people were feared trapped.

"The most challenging problem is travelling in the mud as much as 1.5 hours by foot while carrying the bodies to an ambulance", she said.

Mass burials have begun on Sulawesi for the victims recovered so far - almost all of them found in the city of Palu.

Almost 50,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Palu alone, Nugroho said, and hospitals were overwhelmed.

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"Last night, President @jokowi authorized us to accept global help for urgent disaster-response & relief", senior government official Tom Lembong wrote on Twitter, asking rescuers to contact him directly via his account and email.

Aftershocks have rattled jangled nerves.

"The casualties will keep increasing", said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

A particular horror in several areas in and around Palu was liquefaction, which happens when soil shaken by an quake behaves like a liquid.

"It's OK if he's buried in the mass grave, it's better to have him buried fast", said Rosmawati Binti Yahya, 52, whose husband was among those placed in the grave, before heading off to look for her missing daughter.

Jan Gelfand, the head of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Country Cluster Support in one of the statements said, "We have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying".

Meanwhile, there are reports of looting incidents in the quake-hit cities of Palu and Dongala.

The airport of Indonesia is unusable which is why it is taking a lot of time for any help to arrive. Scores of houses and buildings in Palu were turned into huge mounds of debris, leaving as many as 50,000 residents displaced.

He said the power utility was also working to restore electricity: "Without energy, everything is crippled". Mayor Hidayat was unavailable for comment.

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