Rescuers search for victims of the quakes and tsunami in Indonesia (Photo: VNA)

 

Hanoi (VNA) – The death toll from earthquakes and tsunami in Central Sulawesi province of Indonesia climbed to 1,203 and the figure is expected to rise, said the Indonesian Government on October 1.

Meanwhile, authorised agencies said about 1,200 convicts are on the run from three different detention facilities on Sulawesi island.

Ministry of Justice official Sri Puguh Utami said the prisoners escaped two overcapacity facilities in Palu city and Donggala after the massive quake struck off the areas.

The Donggala jail was set on fire and all 343 inmates were now roaming free, she added.  Some of the convicts were jailed for corruption and narcotics offences, while five people convicted of terror-related crimes had been moved from the prison just days before the disaster.

Sulawesi was ravaged by two quakes measuring 6.1 and 7.5 on the Richter scale on September 28. A tsunami happened after the second hit the area in the afternoon of the same day.

The Indonesian Government has called for support of international community to overcome consequences of the natural disaster on Sulawesi.

In a statement, Tom Lembong, head of the Indonesian investment service agency (BKPM), said Indonesian President Joko Widodo has agreed to accept international help for disaster-response. Dozens of aid agencies and non-governmental organisations lined up to provide live-saving assistance.

Earlier, many nations have already offered to help. The European Union announced urgent aid worth 1.5 million EUR (about 1.74 million USD) for Indonesia.

The RoK Foreign Ministry on September 30 committed 1 million USD to help victims and reconstruction work in Indonesia.

Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping affirmed China is willing to provide support for Indonesia.

The Australian government also vowed to help Indonesia recover after the earthquake and tsunami.

Indonesian authorities are working to bring food, aid and necessities to Sulawesi, while rescuers race against time to find victims trapped inside the debris.-VNA