Search mission extended in Indonesia as death toll touches 2,073
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Search mission extended in Indonesia as death toll touches 2,073

Jakarta, Oct 12: The death toll from multiple strong quakes and an ensuing tsunami in Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province rose to 2,073 as the national disaster agency extended the search mission.

The search and rescue operation was extended for another day to Friday at a request of local communities to keep searching the victims, spokesman of the national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said, Xinhua reported. "The search mission is officially terminated on Friday," Sutopo Nugroho told a press conference.

The official asked people involved in scouring their missing family members to halt the search as they could face the risk of contracting diseases from the decomposing bodies. Friday will be the 15th day after the strong and shallow quakes of 6.0, 7.4 and 6.1 magnitude followed by a tsunami of up to 3 meters devastated Palu, the provincial capital, the adjacent districts of Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Mountong on September 28.

"If there are people still trying to retrieve the bodies, we urge them not to do it because with the condition of the corpses, they are likely to spread diseases, such as cholera," said Sutopo.

The quakes and the tsunami have forced a total of 87,000 people to flee home, with 78,994 of whom taking shelter in 112 evacuation centers in the central province, while the rest have engaged in an exodus to nearby provinces, he added.

As many as 2,549 people were seriously injured and 8,130 suffered minor wounds, said the spokesman. Over 5,000 people remained missing after the deadly natural disasters. (UNI)