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1 October, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Distraught Indonesians look through bodies

AFP
Distraught Indonesians look through bodies
Wreckage and debris are seen at the State Islamic University in Palu, Indonesia's Central Sulawesi yesterday, following the September 28 earthquake and tsunami. The death toll from a powerful earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia leapt to 832 Sunday, as stunned people on the stricken island of Sulawesi struggled to find food and water and looting spread. AFP Photo

Standing on white tiles smeared with blood, Baharuddin looks absently at the bodies strewn across a hospital courtyard in front of him in Palu, Indonesia, reports AFP.

"I have one child, he's missing," the wiry 52-year-old told AFP. "I last spoke to him before he went to school in the morning."

He is looking for one small body among these dozens of corpses lying in an open courtyard at the back of the medical centre, baking under Sulawesi's fierce tropical sun.

Only one building separates a triage area for the living from this makeshift morgue.

It is a mosaic of yellow, blue and black body bags punctuated only by hands reaching up in rigor mortis.

This police hospital in Palu has become a focus point for shell-shocked residents hoping for news of loved ones after the 7.5 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami on Friday.

The official death toll stands at over 800, but everyone knows that figure will only continue to rise.

In a police tent, people clutching photos and passports ask after relatives. Outside an elderly woman -- her head covered in a t-shirt to ward off the stench -- crouched in the dirt and sobbed. By midday Sunday, 320 bodies had been through the centre, hospital authorities said, but a stream of ambulances, police and army vehicles unloaded corpses with alarming regularity. Many people returned day after day to undertake the grim task of looking through the bodies.

Amamsyah, who was searching for four missing cousins, said he was desperate for news.

"I've been here three times, everyday," the 28-year-old, who like many Indonesians only has one name, told AFP. "I hope I find them -- I'm going to fight to find them."

But it is a race against time.

The Indonesian authorities announced Sunday that they would soon begin to dispose of the bodies, a desperate bid to prevent a catastrophic situation from getting even worse.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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