The Indonesian authorities are studying how to convert into common graves the areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the central region of the island of Celebes nine days ago, where rescue teams are still recovering corpses.
The Minister of Coordination of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Wiranto, told the local press that this is one of the options considered in the meetings with leaders and local religious leaders in view of the magnitude of the devastation.
The search and rescue agency Basarnas pointed out that the search tasks have lasted a week longer than the seven days that are normally planned for this type of natural disasters and that when this extension concludes "a decision will be made".
According to the latest official count, the disaster has caused 1,649 deaths and 265 missing but several NGOs working in the most affected areas estimate that the numbers could multiply.
In the neighborhoods of Balaroa and Petobo of the provincial capital, Palu, two of the most affected areas, there would be more than a thousand people buried in both, Efe Andy Sandhi of the Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) organization said today.
These two areas, where much of the efforts of firefighters, the Red Cross, the military and other NGOs are focused, were buried by mudslides and the liquefaction of the soil.
This phenomenon occurs when a strong earthquake strikes an unsound solid soil and with large pockets of water, which causes the sinking of the land and releases a large amount of mud that drags the buildings.
"In Petobo it was liquefaction but in Balaroa the land was opened and closed again," said the ACT activist.
While in Palu, the economic center of the region, the recovery of the supply of electricity and gasoline has allowed the return of commercial activity and the traffic of vehicles increases every day.
The state oil company Pertamina said today on social networks that 32 of the 36 gas stations affected by the earthquake in the area are already in operation.
Some 62,000 people remain displaced in 147 shelters in the area affected by the earthquake while humanitarian assistance begins to reach the most remote areas.