Indonesia to begin mass burials for earthquake, tsunami victims

Jakarta: Indonesian authorities will begin on Monday mass burials for hundreds of people killed in an earthquake and a subsequent tsunami that hit the Sulawesi island on September 28, as search and rescue efforts continued to find more victims and survivors.

The spokesperson for the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said the mass burials will be held in the outskirts of Palu, one of the city most affected by the disaster where 821 of the 832 victims died, reports Efe news.

Sutopo said that the authorities decided to open the mass grave in order to bury the victims who have already been identified and to prevent the spread of disease.

Meanwhile, rescue teams continue to search for survivors and other victims under the collapsed buildings demolished by the 7.5-magnitude earthquake, which has left 540 people hospitalised and at least 16,732 others displaced.

The authorities are also working to restore basic services such as electricity supply in Palu, where several electric generators were deployed by a Hercules aircraft of the Indonesian Air Force to facilitate the process, according to the BNPB spokesperson.

The Palu airport was reopened to commercial flights on Sunday, but humanitarian aid flights will be given priority, according to the authorities.

The Indonesian Health Ministry is supplying additional medical personnel and equipment.

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