Indonesian rescue workers will stop searching for the bodies of victims of an earthquake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi on Thursday, the national disaster mitigation agency said on Sunday.
The official death toll from the Sept. 28 disaster rose to 1,763. Bodies are still being recovered from the ruins of buildings in the small city of Palu and from neighborhoods hit by liquefaction, a phenomenon that turns the ground into a roiling quagmire, in the south of city.
As many as 5,000 people are believed missing from two hard-hit areas in Palu more than a week after the Indonesian city was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, an official said Sunday.
Indonesia’s disaster agency said the figure was based on estimates from local heads in the Petobo and Balaroa areas of the city, where entire neighborhoods disappeared in the twin disaster on Sulawesi island.
“Based on reports from the heads of Balaroa and Petobo, there are about 5,000 people who have not been found,” agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters Sunday, adding that it was difficult to know the exact figure given the areas were largely buried under mountains of mud and wreckage.