Desperate residents on the west coast of Sulawesi island were scavenging for food in farms and orchards on Thursday as the government struggled to overcome shortages of water, food, shelter and fuel in a disaster zone with no power and degraded communications.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for reinforcements in a desperate search for survivors of a devastating natural disaster and tsunami on Sulawesi Island, as the official death toll rose above 1,200 on Tuesday and looting fuelled fears of lawlessness.
The death toll saw a dramatic increase over Monday, when it was below 900.
"What we need is food, water, medicine, but up to now we've got nothing", said an unidentified man standing in ruins. Roads and bridges have been destroyed, making it hard to disperse aid, especially in isolated regions.
United Kingdom aid is already supporting relief efforts through funding to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, which has 175 volunteers and staff on the ground.
He announced an allocation of $15 million.
At Palu's stricken airport, about 300 victims attempted on Wednesday to board Indonesian military transport planes to be evacuated to Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi province.
Indonesia has always been known to be vulnerable to quakes and tsunamis.
Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 250 million people and government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes. The nation now relies on five foreign buoys for tsunami detection, he said.
"Pay attention to Donggala", one resident in Donggala town yelled in footage broadcast on local television, referring to Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
The Indonesian disaster management authority, in a tweet, issued a Level III alert on its four-level volcano alert system. He said it hasn't disrupted plane services or affected any evacuations from the disaster areas. A mass burial of quake and tsunami victims was being prepared in a hard-hit city Monday as the need for heavy equipment to dig for survivors of the disaster that struck a central Indonesian island three days ago grows desperate.
The Indonesian military is leading the rescue effort, but following a reluctant acceptance of help by President Joko Widodo three days after the quake struck, worldwide NGOs also now have teams on the ground in Palu. Hundreds of other people were injured, and scores of uncounted bodies could still be buried in collapsed buildings in Sigi and Balaroa under quicksand-like mud caused by Friday's quake. "It will give the sense of security to the people so hopefully there will be no more looting", he said, adding that all supply convoys into the city will be escorted by armed soldiers. "Everything is destroyed. Nothing is left", Mr Lim said over a crackling line.
"We're on our last legs".
Yet even in Palu there was desperation, with signs propped along roads reading "We Need Food" and "We Need Support" and children begging in the streets.
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