Sulawesi quake: Last-ditch search for survivors as Indonesia disaster toll tops 1500

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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.

On Friday, the death toll rose to 1,571, according to the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management.

The disaster agency said thousands were injured and tens of thousands - possibly hundreds of thousands - displaced from their homes and in need of emergency assistance.

A powerful 7.5 magnitude natural disaster struck Sulawesi Island, Indonesia last week, triggering tsunami that claimed many lives and destroyed homes, roads and other infrastructure. Hundreds more are believed to be buried in mud and debris as authorities have stepped up operations to search for survivors.

At least 600,000 children have been affected by the quake, Save the Children said, with many sleeping on the streets among ruins.

The Indonesian government previously allowed tsunami survivors to take food and other basic supplies from grocery stores to temporarily support their lives after the tsunami while aids were being delivered to them.

Global help in searching for survivors has gathered pace, but communities in more remote areas have been cut off by broken roads, landslides and crippled communications, leaving people increasingly desperate for basic needs as aid has only just begun to trickle through.

Palu airport - which was only accepting military flights in the early stages of the disaster - opened to commercial services Thursday but only a limited number, with aid workers given priority.

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"They said they would come with the heavy machines but they didn't", she said.

Catastrophe bonds and the support of International Monetary Fund and World Bank entities could help Indonesia to put in place a funding mechanism that provides liquidity immediately after disaster strike, while the insurance and reinsurance market could help the government protect its own balance-sheet and buffer taxpayers. Widodo, on his second visit to the disaster zone on Wednesday, acknowledged the aid effort had yet to reach maximum capacity.

At the badly damaged Mercure hotel on Palu's waterfront, there was growing frustration among a French and Indonesian search team.

"I think we can do a lot of good here".

"What is important is we are alive and for that we should be grateful", he said.

The authorities previously set a tentative deadline of Friday for finding anyone trapped under ruined buildings, although chances of pulling survivors alive from the rubble at such a late stage are nearly zero.

Some power is back on in the stricken city of Palu and some shops are reopening.

More than 1,000 people may still be missing following last week's natural disaster and tsunami in Indonesia, according to the county's search and rescue agency.

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