The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island has climbed past 2,000, as authorities prepared to end the search for thousands of victims feared buried in mud and rubble in the hardest-hit neighborhoods.
Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the toll from the Sept. 28 twin disasters had climbed to 2,045. He said authorities will hold prayers Thursday to mark the end of the search in the Petobo, Balaroa and Jono Oge areas of Palu city, where the quake caused loose soil to liquefy, swallowing houses and burying the occupants with them.
Efforts to retrieve bodies, many entombed under mud and rubble as deep as 3 meters (10 feet), will not continue because of the difficult terrain and advanced state of decomposition that made the bodies unrecognizable and could cause contamination, Nugroho said. (AP)