The before and after images of parts of Indonesia depict the shocking scale of devastation left in the aftermath of the tsunami and earthquake that struck Indonesia last Friday. Satellite images shared by Associated Press shows how the tremours and tsunami wiped out the coastal land in Palu, destroying the local community.
A second set of images show that sections of Balaroa village have been completely washed away in the aftermath of powerful tsunami.
According to the official count, the death toll from the 7.5 earthquake and tsunami has reached 1,234. 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.
Even days after the twin disaster, supplies of food, water, fuel and medicine had yet to reach the hardest-hit areas outside Palu, the largest city that was heavily damaged. Many roads in the earthquake zone are blocked and communications lines are down.
The UN humanitarian office reported that “needs are vast,” with people urgently requiring shelter, clean water, food, fuel and emergency medical care.
More than 25 countries offered assistance after Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo appealed for international help. Little of that, however, has reached the disaster zone, and increasingly desperate residents grabbed food and fuel from damaged stores and begged for help.
The officials say that the government is coordinating emergency efforts, and UN and relief agencies are on the ground or enroute. He said the agencies are working closely with the government to provide technical support.
Teams continued searching for survivors under destroyed homes and buildings, including a collapsed eight-story hotel in Palu, but they needed more heavy equipment to clear the rubble.
Many people were believed trapped under shattered houses in the Palu neighborhood of Balaroa, where the earthquake caused the ground to heave up and down violently.
Near the coast, the tsunami shattered buildings, uprooted concrete and thrust boats inland. The deadly wave reportedly reached as high as 6 meters (nearly 20 feet) in places,.
In Palu’s Petobo neighborhood, the quake caused loose, wet soil to liquefy, creating a thick, heavy quicksand-type material that resulted in massive damage. Hundreds of victims are still believed to be buried in the mud there.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. A powerful quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people in August.
(With inputs from AP)