Indonesian authorities set deadline to find thousands missing after quake

A team from South Africa led by NGO Gift of the Givers is in the city of Palu following a devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake that has killed over 1,700 people.

Indonesian search and rescue members look for victims at a mosque that collapsed following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Tanjong, North Lombok on 6 August 2018. Picture: AFP

PALU - Authorities in Indonesia are giving themselves until Thursday to find around 5,000 missing people before declaring them dead.

A team from South Africa led by NGO Gift of the Givers is in the city of Palu following a devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake that has killed nearly 2,000 people.

The army there is leading the disaster relief efforts and have applied strict rule s on how international aid organisations should operate, restricting access unless working with a local NGO.

No foreign NGOs are allowed to go directly to the field and conduct any activity on the sites affected by the disaster without being monitored.

The Gift of the Givers team will spend most of Monday assessing how it will work within the rules set by the Indonesian government.

Team leader Ahmad Bham says: “We need to register our team there with our local NGO. From there they’ll give us guidance on what we can and cannot do.”

This local resident Ayu Palintin has shared what she felt on the day of the earthquake nearly ten days ago.
“I was very nervous and afraid when the earthquake happened.”

It’s understood the reasons behind the restrictions is because of the risk of the spread of disease and the aftershocks of the earthquake that can still be felt.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)