TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - State officials fear hundreds of earthquake victims in three areas in Central Sulawesi in Palu, Donggala, and Sigi are still buried under their houses in two areas after a devastating earthquake struck the region on Friday.
“We have yet to identify the victims in the Balaroa Perumnas and Petobo district, since they were heavily affected,” said Fresly Tampubolon of Palu’s Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) today.
Balaroa and Petobo were the most affected regions, with houses and public facilities flattened to the ground as if they were swallowed by the earth.
According to eyewitnesses' testimonies, several seconds after the magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit Palu there were large quantities of water spraying over the two areas followed by the ground suddenly collapsing, taking with it the structures that were over it.
“My wife and children were unable to be saved. I suspect that they were trapped inside the house which was then trampled by the earth,” said Husnan, a resident. Husnan was at work at the time of the incident.
Another region greatly affected by the earthquake is Kawatuna, which is still submerged in water until this moment. Three days after the earthquake, the official death toll increased to 1,203 while some 18,000 people are taking refuge in 324 refugee camps.