Wiped off the planet: Stark satellite images reveal devastating Indonesian earthquake BURYING town in mud and rubble – as crisis death toll hits 1,649 and rotting bodies spark disease fears

Saturday, October 6, 2018
By Paul Martin

Death toll rose again eight days after an 7.5-magnitude earthquake led to a devastating tsunami in Indonesia
A thousand people could still be missing in the seaside city of Palu with international aid starting to arrive
Foreign aid has started to arrive but rescuers fear contamination from bodies decomposing under the rubble

6 October 2018

An aerial video shows the moment an Indonesian village was wiped out in the devastating tsunami and earthquake, amid fears decaying bodies of the victims could cause a further public health crisis.

The death toll has climbed again to 1,649 and hundreds of people are still missing, eight days after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake sent destructive waves barrelling into the seaside city.

Shocking overhead footage in the Balaroa and Petobo neighbourhoods shows the ground turning to mud and thousands of homes being torn apart and sucked into the earth as the natural disaster struck last week.

With the search still going – and as many as a thousand people still potentially missing – there are fears that vast numbers of decomposing bodies may still be buried beneath the city and could contaminate the rescue workers.

Officials said the the worst-hit areas would have to be declared mass graves and left untouched, with rescue workers vaccinated amid fears they could contract diseases such as typhoid or cholera.

Hopes of finding more survivors are fading but the country’s president Joko Widodo has said all of the victims must be found.

The areas of Petobo and Balaroa have been virtually wiped off the map, with soldiers wearing masks to ward off the stench of death clambering over mounds of mud and brick.

‘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,’ Indonesia’s search and rescue body said.

After days of delays, international aid is slowly making its way to the disaster zone, where the UN says almost 200,000 people need humanitarian assistance.

This morning French rescue experts began hunting through a huge expanse of debris on the outskirts of Palu, while the Japanese air force unloaded relief aid from a cargo plane.

British military experts and an RAF A400M aircraft stationed in the Middle East have also been sent to help in the relief effort.

The Queen made a private donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for survivors of the Indonesia earthquake and tsunami, Buckingham Palace announced.

Thousands of survivors continued to stream out of Palu to nearby cities in the aftermath of the disaster. Hospitals remain overstretched and short on staff and supplies.

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