Indonesia earthquake-tsunami: Antonio Guterres visits disaster-ravaged Palu, says UN will support rescue and relief efforts
Palu: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday visited the disaster-ravaged Indonesian city of Palu, where an earthquake and tsunami killed 2,000 people and left thousands more missing, presumed dead.
A 7.5-magnitude quake and a wall of water struck the city on Sulawesi island on 28 September, leaving entire neighbourhoods in ruins and 200,000 people desperate for humanitarian assistance.
Rescue teams scoured the wreckage for a fortnight before calling off the search for the dead, acknowledging as many as 5,000 missing people would never be found.
Guterres and Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla toured one of the worst-hit areas, and spoke with survivors being treated at an outdoor tent hospital and evacuation centre.
"We are with the people of Indonesia and Sulawesi," Guterres said after surveying the devastation at Balaroa, a hard-hit neighbourhood in Palu.
Entire villages were sucked into the earth at Balaroa when soil turned to mush under the force of the quake.
Monuments are planned to remember untold numbers of victims buried by soil and rubble.
"The UN is with you to support government-led rescue and relief efforts," Guterres posted on his Twitter account, accompanied by a photograph of broken roads and destroyed houses.
Rescuers struggled to retrieve the dead, the grim job compounded as mud hardened and bodies decomposed in the tropical heat.