Sulawesi Quake: Disease Fears as More Bodies Found in The Disaster Zone


More decomposed corpses were found as the rescuers stepped into the aftermath of Indonesia’s quake-tsunami in Sulawesi Island. Since the number of decaying bodies found in disaster zone keeps increasing, rescuers established public health warning on Saturday (06/10), AFP  has reported.

Until now, the official death toll has reached 1,571 with many people were still missing.

The search for survivors in the disaster zone has not yet ceased by the Indonesian authorities, however, the expectation to find more people alive after eight days of searching must be lessened.

It is assumed that the decomposing bodies could be buried beneath the areas of Petobo and Balaroa, and Indonesian authorities have instructed survivors since they might encounter unexpected discoveries.

“Most of the bodies we have found are not intact, and that poses a danger for the rescuers. We have to be very careful to avoid contamination,” Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue effort, told AFP from Palu.

“We have vaccinated our teams, but we need to be extra cautious as they are exposed to health hazards. This is also a health concern for the public. It is very hard to control the crowd… People might be exposed to danger.”

At a government housing complex at Balaroa, soldiers equipped with face masks strived to climb the mounting mud, cement, and brick. Nevertheless, Sergeant Syafaruddin, an official from Palu-based army unit clarified, “There are no survivors here. We just find bodies, every day.” This also applies to other locations, such as houses, or Hotel Roa-Roa—a public hotel and accommodation where people were really optimistic to find some survivors.

Currently, many survivors have decided to go out of Palu to nearby cities after the disaster. Sadly, hospitals in the area are short on supplies as they have not yet figured out where the other usual staff are. According to Project HOPE, a medical NGO, only 82 medical staff who actively work in Palu since the quake.

“We still don’t know the fate of the clinic doctors, nurses and technicians who usually staff the clinic,” the organization said.

Indonesian navy also has initiated a floating hospital where currently a baby-delivery has taken place at.

At first, Indonesia denied the access for foreign aid to come in, yet since the government cannot handle this all alone, Indonesia has agreed to permit foreign aid assist the country. According to the UN, at least 200,000 people are reported to be in it of assistance.

The United Nations confirmed on Friday (05/10) it was seeking US$50.5 million “for immediate relief” to help victims of the devastating quake and tsunami in Indonesia.


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Nadya Yolanda Moeda
A former travel blogger who is now a full time consultant & loves to write about everything under the sun