Indonesian soldiers told to shoot looters in disaster-struck Sulawesi

Hugh Fox
October 7, 2018

Indonesia plans to launch a new strategy to fund disaster recovery, which could include selling "catastrophe bonds", a government official said on Thursday, as the country faced up to the devastation from a huge quake and a tsunami.

Hidayat was not on Sulawesi last Friday when the 7.5 magnitude natural disaster struck, triggering a phenomenon called soil liquefaction, which turns the ground into a roiling quagmire.

The disaster agency said thousands were injured and tens of thousands - possibly hundreds of thousands - displaced from their homes and in need of emergency assistance.

An earthquake-affected child drinks water at a makeshift camp in Palu in Indonesia's Central Sulawesi on October 4, 2018, following the September 28 natural disaster and tsunami. Aid have yet to reach the hardest-hit areas around Palu, the largest city heavily damaged in the natural disaster and tsunami that hit on Friday, Sept. 28. The work to retrieve bodies has been hampered by lack of heavy equipment to dig them out. ATM chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin said so far they have not received any request from the Indonesian side but they are always ready. After days of initial chaos and looting by desperate survivors, some stability has returned to Palu with some shops reopened and electricity restored in some parts of the city.

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"We estimate there were over 1,000 houses buried, so maybe more than 1,000 people are still missing", Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for Indonesia's search and rescue agency told AFP.

Nugroho said about 67,000 military and police have been deployed to the area to maintain security and accelerate distribution of aid to survivors in outlying areas. "I couldn't hold back my tears".

More than 66,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged following the tragedies.

Photo taken on October 4, 2018 shows a collapsed mosque in the wake of an quake in Palu, Indonesia.

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Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who arrived early Friday in Palu to assess the situation, said it will take at least two years to redevelop and reconstruct the disaster zone.

"But we still can not be sure because there's a possibility that some people managed to get out", he said. "Indonesians have a big heart".

The Indonesian government initially refused to accept worldwide help, insisting its own military could handle the response, but as the scale of the disaster became clear President Joko Widodo reluctantly agreed to allow in foreign aid groups and governments.

However, global efforts to help are gearing up, after the government overcame a traditional reluctance to take foreign aid.

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Indonesia and its 18,000 islands are located along the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire" and are frequently struck by quake, volcano and tsunami activity.

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