Drone Footage Shows Impact of Tsunami in Indonesia's Palu City

Volunteers filling a mass grave were instructed to prepare for a total of 1,300 victims to arrive. * AFP Getty images

The provisional death toll from Friday's 7.5 magnitude natural disaster and the subsequent tsunami waves in Indonesia climbed to 844 and was sure to rise as rescuers reached devastated outlying communities.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has authorised the country to start to accept worldwide aid, as the official death toll continues to climb towards 1,000, with many more people still unaccounted for, days after the tsunami struck.

Three days after the quake that shook the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and the devastating tsunami that swept through Palu City, UNICEF says the situation for tens of thousands of children will remain extremely precarious in the days ahead.

The confirmed death toll of 844 released by Nugroho on Monday afternoon was an increase of only 12 since the previous day, with almost the entire total from Palu.

Others have centred their search around open-air morgues, where the dead lay in the baking sun - waiting to be claimed, waiting to be named.

"We will send food today, as much as possible with several aircraft", Widodo told reporters in the capital of Jakarta.

Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mr Wiranto, who goes by one name, said air transport is the most pressing need.

An aerial view shows bridge damaged by an natural disaster and tsunami in Palu.

One woman was recovered alive from ruins overnight in the Palu neighborhood of Balaroa, where about 1,700 houses were swallowed up when the natural disaster caused soil to liquefy, the national rescue agency said.

Some remote areas have yet to be contacted, and there are fears that the death toll could rise further.

At least 90 people were unaccounted for, and another 48,000 have been displaced, Sutopo said. Nugroho, the disaster agency spokesman, said waves were reported as high as 6 meters (20 feet) in some places.

An aid worker, who had reached cut off district Donggala by motorcycle, said hundreds of people facing a lack of food and medicine were trying to get out but evacuation teams had yet to arrive and roads were blocked.

Most of the casualties were caused by the quake itself and a deadly tsunami that slammed into the coastline around Palu.

"The prison no longer had enough food", Utami said.

When last week's quake struck, the government did issue a tsunami warning, but it lasted only a half-hour, and text messages might not have reached residents because of the damaged power lines and cell phone towers. All were accounted for except one Belgian, one South Korean and six French. Many people were trapped and buried under collapsed houses.

"Oxfam is provisionally planning a response to reach 100,000 people in Palu city and Donggala district", said Ancilla Bere, Oxfam's Humanitarian Manager in Indonesia.

RT @USUN: The images of the natural disaster and tsunami in Indonesia are hard to imagine.

The initial quake struck as evening prayers were about to begin in the world's biggest Muslim majority country on the holiest day of the week.

Indonesia, which is on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, is all too familiar with earthquakes and tsunamis.

A massive 2004 quake triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including 168,000 in Indonesia.

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