Authorities in Indonesia say that they will end the search operation of the last month’s Tsunami and earthquake victims despite hundreds still missing. The search operation will come to an end on Thursday.
According to official figures, the devastating natural disaster left 1,754 dead and another 2,549 injured. Officially, 683 people still remain missing, though local residents say that this figure could be significantly higher.
On the other hand, CNN reported that more than 5,000 people could still be missing in Indonesia, following a powerful earthquake that hit the island of Sulawesi last week.
Thousands of people are believed to be missing in the towns of Baleroa and Petobo, where rivers of soil swept away entire neighborhoods in the aftermath of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami on September 28.
The search for survivors will end on Thursday, the country’s disaster agency has said. “Evacuation stops on 11 October,” spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho was quoted by London’s Sky News.
After nine days, rescue teams on Sulawesi are tiring as they continue the relentless, grim task of recovering bodies, reported BBC adding that more than 30 were found in one place on Saturday alone, with more found on Sunday.
Meanwhile, a report by news agency AFP said that the devastation in Petobo and Balaroa has been so bad that officials were now considering declaring them mass graves.
n estimated 2.4 million people have been affected by the disaster, according to Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. About 600 were badly injured, he said, and at least 48,000 people have been displaced.
While hundreds of bodies are believed to be interred, officials say it is not safe to use heavy equipment in areas where loose soil was turned into mud. It is also feared that decomposing bodies could spread disease.