Mobile phone footage captured the moment the recent tsunami hit Indonesia's Central Sulawesi.
The death toll from the twin disaster on Sulawesi island that erased whole suburbs in Palu has reached 1,944, said local military spokesman M. Thohir. However, search and rescue operations will cease on October 11, after which those missing will be listed as "missing, presumed dead", said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
Hopes of finding anyone alive have faded and the search for survivors amid the wreckage has turned to gathering and accounting for the dead. While the official search will end, Nugroho said authorities will not stop villagers from continuing to dig through the ruins for their loved ones. The government has said that those communities flattened in Palu will be declared as mass graves. Sulawesi is one of Indonesia's five main islands.
Nugroho said the disaster agency has not yet been able to verify unofficial estimates from village chiefs in Balaroa and Petobo that 5,000 people are missing in the two areas.
Excavators and rescuers combed Balaroa on Monday, where a massive government housing complex was all but swallowed up by the disaster. Food and clean water remain in short supply, and many are dependent entirely on handouts to survive. At least 1,948 were killed and about 70,000 displaced in the devastating disaster, according to Reuters. Since more than 2,500 schools in Palu, Donggala and Sigi were damaged in the disaster, emergency schools may be set up using tents, he said.
Indonesia sits along the world's most tectonically active region, and its 260 million people are vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.