The rebuilding of an Indonesian city shattered by an earthquake and tsunami will take two years, a disaster official said, as the search for victims buried in obliterated neighborhoods neared its end

Rescuers rest near the ruin of a house at Balaroa neighborhood in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Indonesia's search for victims buried in neighborhoods annihilated by an earthquake and tsunami is nearing its end almost two weeks after the double disasters hit the remote city. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

By DITA ALANGKARA and ANDI JATMIKO - Associated Press
Thursday, October 11th 2018, 08:20 am EDT

PALU, Indonesia (AP) — The rebuilding of an Indonesian city shattered by an earthquake and tsunami will take two years, a disaster official said Thursday, as the search for victims buried in obliterated neighborhoods neared its end.

The national disaster agency's spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, told a news conference that the official search and rescue effort was extended by a day and would end Friday.

"Because of the demands of the residents to lengthen the search for victims, we have extended the search and evacuation process for one day," he said.

Officials plan prayers in areas such as Balaroa, Petobo and Jono Oge where the force of the Sept. 28 quake liquefied soft soil and tore apart neighborhoods.

Assessments of the cost of reconstruction are still being carried out, Nugroho said.

"Judging the conditions now, the reconstruction period will be from 2019 to 2020," he said. "We expect full recovery by 2021."

The agency said the official death toll had risen to 2,073 as of Thursday, with most of the fatalities in Palu.

Officially, 680 people are missing but officials have acknowledged the number could be several thousand because hundreds of homes were sucked into the earth.

Save the Children's affiliated organization in Indonesia said there could be as many as 1,500 children missing.

Selina Sumbung, the organization's chief, said the end of the search mission is accepted with a "heavy heart."

"Children are particularly vulnerable in disasters, and to think that so many will never have the chance to grow up is heart breaking," she said in a statement.

Central Sulawesi Gov. Longki Djanggola said the disaster relief period, due to expire on Saturday, was extended by two weeks to Oct. 26.

Firefighters, soldiers and other personnel searched the rubble Thursday in a last push to find victims. They also burned debris and excavators dug into the tangled remains of buildings.

Heavy equipment hasn't been able to operate in neighborhoods where the earth turned to mud, hampering the search effort, and many bodies have decomposed beyond recognition due to the tropical heat.

Miles (kilometers) of coastline were trashed by the tsunami that followed the quake, with houses swept off their foundations, trucks crumpled and numerous ships beached.

__

Jatmiko reported from Jakarta, Indonesia.

___

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Log In or Register now to earn tokens for enjoying articles!
DAILY BONUS GAMES
$5K  Bonus Games 
  • 1 Search
  • 2 Enjoy
    Content
  • 3 Enjoy
    Content
  • 4 Enjoy
    Content
  • 5 Enjoy
    Content
x
Make sure you're logged in, complete each step and you'll unlock your shot at a fortune!
  • Search Now!1

    Step 1: Search the web to get info you need and go for a PCH SUPERPRIZE!

  • See what's new!2 3 4 5

    Steps 2-5: Get the news, entertainment, horoscopes, lottery results & more! CLAIM TOKENS!

  • Go for $5,000.00 instantly!

    Completing steps 1-5 automatically unlocks your shot at the BIG $5,000.00 INSTANT WIN BONUS GAMES.