Indonesia buries 1,411 bodies from earthquakes, tsunami in Central Sulawesi

The 1,411 bodies from the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Indonesia have already been buried in mass grave and public cemeteries,  Indonesia’s head of Central Sulawesi province’s Tsunami Emergency Response Joint Command (Satgasgab) Tiopan Aritonang has said.

Aritonang said burial process in the mass grave have been conducted properly. The identified bodies have been returned to their families and buried in preferred cemeteries, he said on Wednesday.

Part of the families were willing to have bodies of their relatives buried in mass grave due to their difficult situations.

The provincial government has provided mass grave for bodies in Poboya Indah cemetery, located in the city’s eastern higher ground. The burial of those bodies in the mass grave started earlier this week, carried out by troops and police.

Speaking to Xinhua recently a family member said he can still recognize the body bags contained his father’s body when it was put on the ground by the military personnel. 

“Actually there was another bag covering my father’s body, but luckily I still remember the inner body bag which has particular sign. I watched it when it was unloaded from truck and put on the ground. That was enough,” 22-year-old Eka Setiabudi told Xinhua in the mass grave location here on Tuesday.

Body of 54-year-old Mujiono, Eka’s father, was retrieved from under a debris a day earlier in Petobo village, a most devastated area from the tsunami.

Eka said his family has nothing left to bury his father properly after the tsunami. 

“The important thing is that I watched the process and has documented it,” Eka sid, adding that his family was still expecting information on his 20-year-old sister who remained missing.

Search teams and volunteers have intensified efforts to look for more bodies. 

Retrieval of bodies from under the debris and rubbles were conducted later after the search team marked the locations and places where they were found, with assistance of excavators.

Distribution of aids have been carried out in last a few days to camps of refugees, Tiopan said, adding that delivery of aids to the province’s remote areas like Lindu, Kulawi and Pipikoro villages, would be done through helicopters.

Tiopan also said aid supplies would be distributed swiftly to those who needed them the most in refugee camps.

Last Friday’s tsunami that hit Palu after a strong quake off the city’s coast also injured around 800 people and displaced over 60,000 others.