More than 1000 may still be missing in Indonesia disaster

Some residents have taken to digging through reeking piles of sodden food and debris

DITA ALANGKARA APSome residents have taken to digging through reeking piles of sodden food and debris

The death toll in Indonesia's twin quake-tsunami disaster climbed to 1,424 on Thursday with time running out to rescue survivors six days after the disaster struck.

The official death toll from the quake and the tsunami it triggered stands at 1,558, but it will certainly rise as bodies are recovered.

The city of Palu and surrounding districts on the island of Sulawesi were rocked by the 7.5 magnitude quake last week, killing more than 1,400 people and destroying thousands of homes, as well as damaging bridges and other infrastructure.

"Twelve people in this area haven't yet been found", Mohammad Thahir Talib told AFP. He spoke as numerous city and region's residents scrambled to get food, water and other supplies — with many resorting to taking things from shops and markets.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency estimated a series of earlier quakes that hit the resort island of Lombok in July and August had caused damages worth 12 trillion rupiah ($790 million) and killed almost 500 people.

"It's hard to imagine a more frightening situation for a child", said Zubedy Koteng, the group's child protection adviser, who is in the city.

Nazara said that the Indonesian government would look to insure its state assets, then establish a disaster risk financing mechanism. President Joko Widodo has ordered it be repaired and maintained. "There is no such thing as looting", he said on a visit to Palu. Desperate search efforts for survivors continued on Wednesday.

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Many children still have not been reunited with their families. "I thought I wasn't going to have a chance to see her". The White House is donating "Be Best"-themed school supplies, including totes, chalk for teachers, and soccer balls".

More than 50 Australian medical professionals will provide emergency health support, as the government talks to Indonesia about what else might be needed.

After days of delays, worldwide aid has finally started to arrive in the disaster zone, where the United Nations says nearly 200,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

He announced an allocation of US$15 million. Shops have reopened, a major phone network is back in operation, and a small number of commercial flights are expected to resume flying in and out of the city's wrecked airport.

Australia will send more than 50 medical professionals to Indonesia to help with the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster and tsunami as part of a 5 million Australian dollar ($3.6 million) aid package. Workers said they meant to fix all the damage to the networks and substations and get them reconnected to the grid within days. Queues to get a few litres of petrol lasted more than 24 hours in some places.

"We've confirmed that the mayor is still alive and healthy", Setu said.

Indonesia and its 18,000 islands are located along the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire" and are frequently struck by quake, volcano and tsunami activity.

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