Indonesia earthquake, tsunami toll reaches 1,649 (Lead)
Jakarta : Indonesian authorities on Saturday raised the death toll in the devastating earthquake and an ensuing tsunami in Sulawesi Island to 1,649.
National Disaster Management Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that among the victims, 1,413 were from Palu city, the hardest-hit in twin disasters, Xinhua news agency reported.
"Most of the victims were found in Palu and they were hit by tsunami, particularly in the coastal areas near Talise beach," the spokesman said.
The remaining deaths were reported in the districts of Donggala, Sigi, Parigi Moutong and Pasang Kayu. Relief aid started arriving in the more remote areas of Sulawesi Island.
Assistance was being provided by local authorities and non-governmental organisations in Donggala and other cut off areas such as Sigi, Red Cross spokesperson Iris Van Deinse said. Work on restoring the power supply to affected areas was ongoing.
The quakes and the tsunami also left 2,549 people injured, with 265 people still missing. The number of people taking shelter in makeshift tents stand at 62,369 now, the spokesperson said.
In Palu, banks and businesses reopened and the chaos surrounding the distribution of food, water and gasoline during the initial aftermath of the tragedy, had ended.
Bodies were still being removed from the other worst affected areas, such as the village of Petobo -- about 7 km southeast of Palu -- and Balaroa, where NGO workers estimated that over 1,000 people could still be buried.