Girl scout among 34 dead found in Indonesian quake quagmire

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Soldiers and rescue workers carry the remains of recovered victims from last week's natural disaster in the Balaroa neighbourhood in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia on Saturday.

According to the Government of Indonesia, the official death toll has reached almost 1,600 people, amid unconfirmed reports that more than 1,000 people have been buried in a housing complex, in the city of Palu, which suffered the full-force of the deadly tsunami wave.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a briefing in Jakarta that the search will continue for hundreds still missing, including many buried in deep mud and debris from collapsed houses and buildings.

Australia's first delivery of urgent supplies will arrive soon in Indonesia to help up to 10,000 people displaced by the quake and tsunami.

"There should be a monument here to make people aware, so that our grandchildren will know this disaster happened in 2018", said Muhlis, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

But the trickle of worldwide aid to Palu and local efforts to help the survivors have accelerated in recent days.

But it has accepted help from overseas for the disaster in Sulawesi.

Numerous dead were buried in mass graves because of the overwhelming amount of victims.

A French rescue worker says his team, using high-tech scanners, has detected a person believed to be still alive under the rubble of a hotel in the Indonesian city of Palu, almost a week after it was struck by a powerful quake and tsunami.

Indonesia's leading security minister, Wiranto, said the government is mulling the possibility of turning Balaroa and Petobo, another neighbourhood in Palu, into mass graves.

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Authorities have yet to conduct a tally of casualties in Sirenja and the other districts near the epicenter north of Palu, but Lakuaci estimated dozens of people had been killed in the area.

"We're Muslim. We need a proper burial, in the Islamic way", said Ikaya.

"More than half of my family are gone", Hasnah said as she sobbed.

Udrekh, a disaster expert at Indonesia's Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), said Indonesia is discussing with Japan whether to invest in seabed cables with sensors that could detect tsunami and earthquakes, similar to a system in Japan.

Other survivors also said they heard no sirens, even though a tsunami warning was issued and then lifted 34 minutes after the quake, based on data available from the closest tidal sensor, around 200 km (125 miles) from Palu, which is on Sulawesi island. Taiwan's Tzu Chi Foundation sent a 10-person team consisting of doctors and nurses from Jakarta with more to arrive later.

Among those leaving are a group of students attending an Islamic competition in the Sumatran city of Medan.

Thousands of survivors continued to stream out of Palu to nearby cities in the aftermath of the disaster. Figures for more remote areas are trickling in but they seem to have suffered fewer deaths than the city.

The official toll has surpassed 1,400 deaths with thousands injured and 70,000 residents displaced.

Drinking water has been identified as one of the most urgent needs in Donggala, one of the worst-affected districts on the island, along with shelter, healthcare and psychosocial support, UN News said.

The U.N. announced a $15 million allocation to bolster relief efforts.