French say no more signs of life in Indonesia hotel rubble

Last ditch search for quake survivors as death toll rises

Last ditch search for quake survivors as death toll rises

A French rescue team said Thursday it has detected a possible sign of life under the rubble of a hotel in Indonesia's Sulawesi island almost a week after it was hit by a powerful natural disaster and tsunami, as the death toll rose to more than 1,500.

The national disaster agency said Friday that the confirmed death toll rose slightly to 1,571.

Following the natural disaster and subsequent tsunami that struck Palu, Central Sulawesi on 28 September, more than 1,500 people are known to have died and 2,500 people have been seriously injured. Local television said the man, the only foreigner known to have perished in the disaster, was a paraglider taking part in an event in the area.

At least 1,400 people have been killed, with the death toll expected to rise as searchers have now changed their mission to that of extracting bodies instead of looking for survivors. The United Nations has said some 200,000 people, including tens of thousands of children, are in need of help.

The improvements are helping with the aid effort.

The U.N. humanitarian office said people urgently require shelter, clean water, food, fuel and emergency medical care.

"The natural disaster and tsunami cut off many transport routes in this remote area".

Worldwide aid is beginning to arrive, including supplies from Britain and Australia, after the government overcame a traditional reluctance to accept help from overseas.

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"The earth was like a blender, blending everything in its way", said Hasnah, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.

Some roads remain impassable, detritus from the tsunami is scattered everywhere, and terrified people are sleeping outside in makeshift camps for fear of more quakes. "Now we have nothing at all....we tried everything and have no response", he said.

Nevertheless there were signs of life returning to normal, with children playing in the streets, radios blaring out music, and electricity back up and running in most places.

"We have to use heavy equipment now because it is very hard to sift through the rubble by hand", Mr Yusuf said.

A report from Reuters cites a minister who leads the fiscal policy unit of the financial ministry of the Indonesian government stating that the country wants to be better prepared and make use of the available financial tools to help mitigate the costs of disaster and aid with recovery.

The government has said it would accept offers of global aid, after shunning outside help earlier this year when an quake struck Lombok island.

"We survived here", Fitriani said.

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

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