Indonesia to accept worldwide help after devastating quake and tsunami

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Local military spokesman Mohammad Thorir said the area adjacent to a public cemetery on a hill can hold as many as 1,000 bodies.

The troops boarded a naval ship Monday morning and headed to the hard-hit cities of Palu and Donggala.

Around midday Monday, teams of workers, their mouths covered by masks, carried 18 body bags and laid them in a trench.

"We don't know how many victims could be buried there, it's estimated hundreds", said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. "There are many places where the evacuation couldn't be done because of the absence of heavy equipment, but last night equipment started to arrive", Widodo said. "We don't have any other choice, we must get food", one man in Palu told AFP as he filled a basket with goods from a nearby store.

Meanwhile in Donggala, about 70 kilometres north of Palu, Andi and Flarahaine Rainaldi were able to locate the body of their only son Rafi.

Oscar Orcine, the Philippines' consul general in Manado, Indonesia, said on ANC that the Filipino detainee "is one of 800 prisoners or detainees who are now missing" because the Bureau of Corrections building "was damaged by the natural disaster and tsunami". "We just want to be safe!". A woman said she feared for her and her baby's safety due as residents raided shops for food and water.

Videos posted to social media also captured the scene as the quake struck, with people scrambling away from large cracks in the ground as buildings either collapsed or simply slid away - their foundations overcome by the earth's liquefaction. 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. A backhoe waited to push soil on top of the dead.

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo toured Palu on Sunday and said rescuers were having difficulty reaching victims because of a shortage of heavy equipment.

"There has been no aid, we need to eat". A quake off Sumatra island in 2004 triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

The Guardian reports that an unknown number of people are trapped in the rubble of the buildings, and the death toll is expected to rise into the thousands.

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Indonesian rescuers evacuate a survivor from under a collapsed restaurant building in Palu on Sunday.

Relatives look for the bodies of their loved ones at a police station in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

President Joko Widodo opened the door to the dozens of worldwide aid agencies and NGOs lined up to provide live-saving assistance. It wasn't immediately clear what type of help was being authorized, but the stricken areas needed medical supplies, food and water.

The toll of 800 dead in Friday's disaster is expected to grow as areas inaccessible since the disaster are reached.

Thousands of homes, hotels, shopping centers, hospitals and other public facilities were damaged, Nugroho said.

A mass burial was being prepared for more than 300 bodies in an Indonesian city hit hard by a powerful quake and tsunami.

Emergency workers said that the official count of 844 dead, nearly all of them from the town of Palu, was likely to rise into the thousands as rescuers reached towns and villages cut off by damaged roads.

At least 832 people were confirmed dead as of Sunday evening, Indonesia's disaster agency said, with almost all of those from Palu.

Indonesia is majority Muslim country, and religious custom calls for burials soon after death, typically within one day.

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