Update: Death Toll Rises to 1,234 in Indonesia Disaster

Indonesia’s disaster agency says the death toll from an earthquake and tsunami disaster on a central island is now 1,234.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho updated the figure at a news conference in Jakarta on Tuesday afternoon.

The magnitude 7.5 earthquake and the tsunami it generated struck Palu and nearby areas on central Sulawesi island.

Nugroho said 799 people are severely injured. He said the communities of Sigi and Balaroa have not been counted yet, meaning the toll is likely to rise.

Residents in the disaster-devastated Indonesian city of Donggala say people there are hungry and the central government must urgently get aid there.

The city was among those hit in last week’s earthquake and tsunami, but aid has been slow to arrive due to the difficulty in reaching it. Survivors in Donggala say they worry they have been forgotten as attention has been focused on the city of Palu, which has been easier to reach.

With supplies running out, local administrator Kasman Lassa says people were taking food and other essentials from shops Tuesday.

Lassa says: “Everyone is hungry and they want to eat after several days of not eating.”

He says people going into shops “should take only cake, bread, rice. Do not take chairs, or television. Again, for cake, bread, rice, they can take it. The store owner also allows them to take food.”

Australia’s government has given financial aid to help victims of Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami and was talking with Indonesian authorities about sending more.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said A$500,000 ($360,000) in initial funding was given to the Indonesian Red Cross for the most obvious emergency aid needs, such as tarpaulins.

Australia’s ambassador was consulting the Indonesian government on more support.

Morrison told reporters in the west coast city of Perth that Australia was looking at how to best fit the needs of its neighbors in their time of need and that Australia’s support wouldn’t only be in the short-term.

Indonesia’s president has authorized the acceptance of international help, with generators, heavy equipment and tents among the most-needed items. Officials have said the European Union, United States and China have also offered help.

One of the first evacuation flights from a quake-devastated region of central Indonesia has landed in East Java.

The C130 military transport aircraft that arrived at a military airport Oct. 2 carried dozens of people, including injured victims needing further care and treatment. It left from the city of Palu, where hundreds of people are waiting still to be evacuated.

Andi Wijaya, the airport base commander in East Java, says seven aircraft were ready to evacuate but crews had to be summoned to prepare for the flights.

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