'Palpable sense of relief' as NZ Defence Force evacuates quake victims

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"The earth was like a blender, blending everything in its way", said Hasnah, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.

Those not found by Thursday will be presumed dead, disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Life is on hold for thousands living in tents and shelters in the Indonesian city hit by a powerful natural disaster and tsunami.

Indonesian soldiers help offload the 10.6 tonnes of supplies brought by a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft to Palu, the Indonesian port city devastated by a 7.5-magnitude natural disaster and tsunami on 28 September.

"They really need help", said Sidharta.

Officials believe more than 100 people are still missing.

Hundreds of Muslim survivors in the Indonesian city of Palu have gathered at shattered mosques for Friday prayers, seeking strength to rebuild their lives a week after a powerful quake and tsunami killed more than 1,500 people.

The National Disaster Management Agency said that most bodies were retrieved from Palu, the provincial capital, followed by the districts of Donggala, Sigi, Parigi Mountong and a district of Pasang Kayu in nearby West Sulawesi province. "Red Cross!" as one of the aid group's medical teams arrived and set up a makeshift clinic in a field where evacuees were sleeping under tarpaulins. "No siren or anything", said the 51-year-old civil servant, adding that he has never heard the warning system ever.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a briefing in Jakarta some limited searching might continue but large-scale searches with many personnel and heavy equipment would cease on October 11.

Most would have to torn down and rebuilt, he said.

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Indonesian man chat on top of the rubble at Petobo neighbourhood, which was wiped out by earthquake-triggered tsunami, in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018.

Despite that, Allibert said it had been hard to get permits for Sulawesi.

Many thousands of people are still too afraid to stay in their houses, especially at night, owing to the ongoing aftershocks.

Muhlis, whose uncle was still missing in Balaroa, said the missing and dead should be honoured respectfully.

Indonesia is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said all of the victims must be found, and the search is expected to take months.

But the trickle of worldwide aid to Palu and local efforts to help the survivors have accelerated in recent days.

The quakes and the tsunami also left 2,549 people injured, with 265 people still missing.

They are unsure when they'll be able to rebuild and spend hours each day often futilely trying to secure necessities such as fuel for generators.

"When the land split, she happened to be on the side that collapsed", he said. Figures for more remote areas, some still cut off by destroyed roads and landslides, are only trickling in, if at all. The death toll has topped 1500.