Time running out for survivors as Indonesia toll tops 1,400

“In the area to the south, because there hasn’t been an evacuation we don’t know if there are bodies. It’s possible there are more,” the 39-year-old said.

In Geneva, the UN expressed frustration at the slow pace of the response.

“There are still large areas of what might be the worst-affected areas that haven’t been properly reached, but the teams are pushing, they are doing what they can,” Jens Laerke, from the UN’s humanitarian office, told reporters late Tuesday.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that across Donggala, some 310,000 people have been affected by the disaster.

Survivors are battling thirst and hunger, with food and clean water in short supply, and local hospitals are overwhelmed by the number of injured.

Officials on the ground said that while the government was now inviting offers of help, there is still no “mechanism for this to be implemented”.

Landing slots at Palu airport are snapped up by the Indonesian military, although it was expected to be open to commercial flights from 7.59am on Thursday.

Palu’s port, a key transit point for aid, has been damaged.

Signs of desperation are growing, with police officers forced to fire warning shots and teargas to ward off people ransacking shops.

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