Anger among Indonesian quake survivors desperate for supplies

1,200 convicts escape Indonesian prisons in quake-tsunami zone

JAKARTA - The confirmed death toll from an quake and tsunami on Indonesia's Sulawesi island has risen to 1,234, from 844, the national disaster mitigation agency said on Tuesday.

The confirmed death toll of 844, mostly from Palu, is expected to rise as authorities reach cut-off areas.

Reports say that aid started to reach Palu, but rescuers were still trying to reach Donggala regency, home to over 300,000 people.

The northeastern city of Palu and the surrounding area has been worst hit, with residents facing a fifth day without adequate supplies of food and clean drinking water, CNN reports.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that dozens of bodies lined the streets of Palu - a city of more than 350,000 people - over the weekend.

The bodies of 34 children attending a Bible camp in a remote northern region of the island of Sulawesi (Indonesia) have been found, the Red Cross confirmed.

With bodies piling up at medical facilities and concerns rising about disease, authorities in Palu began a mass burial, lining the dead side-by-side in a giant, freshly dug grave that could accommodate hundreds.

"We suspect there are still some survivors trapped inside", said Agus Haryono, head of a rescue team working at the site.

About 50 people were believed to have been caught inside the hotel when it was brought down by the 7.5 magnitude natural disaster on Friday.

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On Wednesday, Australia said it was sending a medical team to the disaster zone and providing an additional $5 million in aid. As aid began trickling in, residents in one neighbourhood clapped, cheered and high-fived the arrival of a supply truck.

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Authorities say hundreds of people were on the beach in Palu for a festival when the quake and tsunami struck, sweeping many away to their deaths when the giant waves arrived.

More than 65,000 homes were damaged and more than 60,000 people have been displaced and are in need of emergency help.

Some 1,200 Indonesian convicts escaped from three different detention facilities in the devastated region of Sulawesi following an quake and tsunami disaster, a justice ministry official said on Monday.

About 1,700 houses in one neighbourhood were swallowed up, with hundreds of people believed buried, the national disaster agency said. Most stores and markets are closed and resupply is hard as the airport in Palu is damaged and roads have been literally ripped apart.

"When the wave came, I lost her", he said. About 3,000 residents flocked to the airport Monday in hopes of catching a military cargo plane or a rare commercial airline to take them off the island.

He was due in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Thursday, and would convey condolences in person on behalf of the Government, his office said.

"What we need is food, water, medicine, but to up now we've got nothing", said an unidentified man standing amid ruins. "We have anticipated it by providing food, rice, but it was not enough".

Many of Ida Rafiqah's family members, including her mother, live on the island of Sulawesi.

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