Indonesia is in a race against time to save victims of a devastating earthquake and tsunami on Sulawesi island, the government said on Tuesday, as the official death toll rose to more than 1,200 and looting fueled fears of lawlessness.
Four days after the double disaster struck, officials feared the toll could soar, as most of the confirmed dead had come from Palu, a small city 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Jakarta.
Some remote areas have been largely cut off after Friday’s 7.5 magnitude quake triggered tsunami waves, destroying roads and bridges, and their losses have yet to be determined.
“The team is racing against time because it’s already D+four,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of National Disaster Mitigation Agency, told a briefing in Jakarta, referring to four days since the quake.
He said rescuers had reached all four of the badly affected districts, which together have a population of 1.4 million, but he declined to give an estimate of casualties.