67,000 homes destroyed: Indonesia to “start rebuilding next month”

Indonesia will next month start rebuilding areas smashed by earthquakes and a tsunami last week, and the work will take at least two years, the country’s vice president said Tuesday (9 October).

Fatalities from the 28 September disaster hit 2,045 yesterday, Reuters reported, but as many as 5,000 are still missing, feared trapped under debris or washed away by the wall of water that slammed into the city of Palu, capital of the island of Sulawesi.

The city has been devastated, with some 67,000 homes destroyed or damaged, and more than 82,000 people left homeless.

As well as the houses, the disaster claimed some 2,700 school buildings, 20 health facilities, roads, bridges, and an airport.

Scientists said Palu’s location at the end of a narrow bay will have concentrated the tsunami’s force.

"Rehabilitation will start next month," Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said Tuesday, reports Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

"The works will include establishing temporary barracks along with construction of school buildings, mosques, office buildings and houses," he added.

Barracks for the homeless survivors will be the first phase.

Three powerful and shallow quakes occurred 77km offshore Palu on 28 September, triggering the tsunami, which is estimated to have reached 3 metres in height, or more.

Not only was Palu hit by the wall of fast-moving water, parts of it were wrecked by soil liquefaction, in which tremors turned stable ground into unstoppable mudflows.

This video curated by The Guardian shows the horrific moment the tsunami struck, with satellite imagery showing soil liquefaction rendering an entire district a wasteland of mud.

So far around 26 nations have offered assistance to the Indonesian government, reports Xinhua.

As of yesterday, some 10,000 rescuers were still scouring wreckage for survivors, reports Reuters.

As well as the Sulawesi disaster, Indonesia’s government must help more than 430,000 people displaced by the earthquake that struck Lombok on 5 August this year.

Image: Satellite imagery depicts an entire district being destroyed by soil liquefaction (screen capture from Guardian video)

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  1. In view of rising sea levels and more extreme storms may I suggest that no more houses are built on beaches whether it be Indonesia, Carolina or Florida.

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