Mass Burial Planned For Indonesia Quake Victims As Death Toll Reaches 832

A mass grave is being prepared for as many as 1,300 victims of Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami, as rescuers race to find survivors and stop disease spreading.

The number of dead after Friday’s disaster on the island of Sulawesi stands at 832 but authorities fear many more bodies will be found in remote areas – possibly thousands.

“The casualties will keep increasing,” said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

“We will start the mass burial of victims, to avoid the spread of disease.”

Volunteers were digging a 100-metre-long grave through the night on Sunday, but it was unclear when the burial would take place.

A lack of machinery has slowed down the search and around 60 people are believed to still be buried under one hotel in Palu – a city of more than 300,000 where most of the dead have so far been found.

Two survivors have been pulled from the 80-room Hotel Roa-Roa, said rescuers, and there are hopes more could be alive after calls for help were heard.

People have been forced to loot shops for food and water, saying aid has not yet reached them, while families search open-air morgues in the baking sun to try to find their loved ones.

One survivor, Adi, said he was hugging his wife by the beach when the tsunami wave – which measured up to 6m (20ft)- struck land.

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