No signs of life in hotel rubble, week after Indonesia quake

Indonesia battles fake news after quake-tsunami disaster

Time was running out on Wednesday for anyone trapped in the rubble of a devastating quake and tsunami in Indonesia, five days after disaster struck, while increasingly angry survivors waited for an aid operation to move into high gear.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon that 519 of the bodies had been buried.

Malacañang on Friday announced the country's preparedness to assist its Southeast Asian neighbor Indonesia as massive natural disaster and tsunami devastated Sulawesi Island last week.

Indonesia's top security minister says the government is considering turning some areas of disaster-stricken Sulawesi island into mass graves.

Most of those displaced by the natural disaster were among the 350,000 residents of Palu.

Officials fear the death toll from the 7.5 magnitude quake will rise once they gain access to remote areas largely cut off since Friday.

Twenty-nine countries have pledged aid, according to Indonesia, but the delay in inviting help and severed transport links means little foreign help has arrived.

"I am hoping for a miracle", said Bambang, who has been searching daily at the hotel site for his pregnant wife.

The natural disaster took away lives of more than 1,400 people in a span of one week.

The Indonesian retailers association said that losses sustained by mini market chain stores operating in Palu and Donggala had reached 450 billion rupiah (about $2.9 million) as of Monday.

The Response Plan was developed in consultation with the Government of Indonesia counterparts, and articulates how the humanitarian community working in the country will provide targeted, technical assistance in support of the Government-led response.

Officials on the ground said that while the government was now inviting offers of help, there is still no "mechanism for this to be implemented". After days of initial chaos and looting by desperate survivors, some stability has returned to Palu, with shops slowly reopening and electricity restored in some parts of the city.

"This is really a challenging and hard time for Indonesia and for all of us, but we are united and we stand strong and we are confident of withstanding this hard time", he told a briefing of the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club on Wednesday evening.

Worldwide aid is beginning to arrive, including supplies from Britain and Australia, after the government overcame a traditional reluctance to accept help from overseas.

In 2004, an natural disaster off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

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