Springfield's Convoy of Hope responds to tsunami in Indonesia

PALU: People survey the damage following earthquakes and a tsunami in the island of Sulawesi on Saturday. The tsunami swept away buildings and killed a large number of people.—AP

Springfield's Convoy of Hope responds to tsunami in Indonesia

A government volcanologist said it is possible the eruption was accelerated by the 7.5 magnitude quake which struck Central Sulawesi on Friday.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho dismissed concerns that the volcano's eruption could affect planes transporting aid and supplies to the quake disaster areas.

Anger and desperation among traumatized residents of Palu appeared to be simmering, with some outbreaks of looting.

"Everyone is desperate for food and water". He repeated that on Wednesday, after inspecting what he called an "evacuation" effort at the Hotel Roa Roa, where he said some 30 people lay buried in the ruins.

Almost 50,000 people have been displaced from Palu alone, and hospitals on the tropical island are overwhelmed, the Associated Press reports. "In Petobo, it is estimated that there are still hundreds of victims buried in mud", Nugroho said. And the official toll of 1,234 dead is expected to grow as more bodies are recovered in the damaged areas.

"There are some main priorities that we must tackle and the first is to evacuate, find and save victims who've not yet been found", Widodo told a government meeting to coordinate disaster recovery efforts on the west coast of Sulawesi island.

Widodo said there's still a lot of work to be done, but he added that conditions are improving. "So we do it along the road at night", said 50-year-old Armawati Yarmin.

The Indonesian island of Sulawesi was impacted by a monstrous quake and tsunami on Friday, Sept. 28.

A man named Heruwanto said he was happy while clutching a box of instant noodles.

The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi at 18:03 (10:03) on Friday at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles), setting off a tsunami that soon after engulfed Palu with waves of up to 6m.

Officials fear the death toll will rise into the thousands.

Police were initially being lenient as people searched desperately for basic items such as food, fuel and water, but police chief Ari Dono Sukmanto said that they "now re-enforcing the law", to stop looters since "food supply started to came in" two days after the storm, which "only needed to be distributed".

Britain will send military experts and a transport aircraft to Indonesia to help with the relief effort following the recent natural disaster tsunami, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters in Washington: "We will be working very closely with the Indonesian government to make sure that the support we are providing is highly targeted".

"There is still limited information about the full extent of the disaster and it is hard to get aid and people into the affected areas", Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the main United Nations aid coordinating agency, OCHA, said in Geneva on Tuesday. I lost many members of my family and neighbors.

More than 70,000 have been forced from their homes, he said.

"The ground below us suddenly moved like a blender and crushed our feet", he said.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the humanitarian organisation's Imtiaz Sooliman said the rescue teams, with "highly specialised equipment", accompanied by a number of medical personnel, would depart for Indonesia on Wednesday.

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