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Sand is placed over dead bodies of the victims of the earthquake and tsunami during a mass burial at the Poboya Cemetery in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

The death toll from the multiple quakes and ensuing tsunami in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province has risen to 1,424, an official said at a joint press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

Many victims are feared to still be buried in the ruins of Palu, the provincial capital, and in the districts of Donggala and Sigi, according to the spokesman of the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Sutopo told the press that 1,200 of the victims were from Palu and that most of the deceased victims have been laid to rest by Wednesday.

The spokesman added that the death toll from last Friday’s disaster is expected to rise as there are reports that hundreds of locals could still be trapped under the ruins of the houses leveled by the quakes.

Daryono, head of the earthquake and tsunami information center at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said that Sulawesi historically sees frequent tsunamis but that the disaster this time was difficult to forecast and exceeded worst predictions. Considering there are nearly 300 seismically active areas in the country, Daryono warned that people should stay away from the coastline anytime a quake occurs.

“The maximum plate movement happened in Sulawesi, separating Sulawesi Island into east and west parts from Palu Bay to the Gulf of Boni. This is the most likely plate movement to happen in Indonesia,” said Daryono. — Reuters

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