The disastrous earthquake that struck an island in Sulawesi last week and the tsunami that followed have left thousands of people dead and many more missing. According to Indonesian officials’ report on Channel News Asia, death toll has gone up to over 1900. The number is expected to go up and could even triple once all the missing persons have been found and the casualties determined.
Earthquakes and tsunamis have always occurred, leaving so many deaths, losses and trails of destruction in the affected areas. On 11th March, 2011 for instance, an earthquake of 8.9 magnitudes hit the northeast coast of japan, sending a tsunami across the Pacific. The number of deaths has never been determined to date. A similar earthquake of 8.8 magnitudes shook Chile in February 2010, creating a tsunami that killed more than 520 people.
Following the Indonesian quake, the officials have been finding new bodies every day, according to 2nd Lt. Nirwan Adi Putranto’s report to the Time Magazine.
As on Sunday, more than 5,000 people were still missing in Balaroa and Petobo, two of the most affected neighborhoods in Palu City, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Indonesia disaster agency’s spokesman. According to the spokesman, it was not possible to state the exact number of the missing persons. Some people were in the buildings that sank into the earth through a process called soil liquefaction, and others were swallowed by the earth while out there.
In Balaroa and Petobo alone, more than 3,000 homes have been buried under the earth following the earthquake including all government housing structures in Balaroa. In the government housing complex alone, more than one thousand families lived there, according to the Guardian. It is however not easy to tell the exact number of people that were in the complex when the building started to sink.
Rescuers are still at the site and have up to Thursday to search for any survivors, even though it is difficult to find anyone alive in the rubble at this point. Bodies are being recovered too. The affected areas will then be turned into a mass grave.