Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Source: Antara)
 
Jakarta (VNA) – Flight activities at Sis Al-Jufri Airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi are expected to return to normal within a week to serve travel demands and provide aid to locals hit by the recent deadly earthquake and tsunami, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on October 2.

On October 1, the airport was able to be used even though only 2,000sq.m had been cleared of debris, but the clean up will be finished within a week, the president said.

He clarified that because the airport has not returned to normal operation just yet, the delivery of aid in the form of food, drinking water, and other needs such as fuel oil has been constrained. Meanwhile, land routes were also damaged due to bridges collapsing and landslides.

The president also mentioned that conditions in Palu and surrounding areas are still in a state of emergency. The evacuation of victims has not been completed.

Many places had been experiencing difficulties in the evacuation process as heavy equipment was unable reach the areas, but last night heavy equipment finally began to enter Palu, he said.

Regarding the telecommunications network, the president said that more than 1,000 base transceiver stations and telecommunications towers were damaged, but authorised forces are working hard to resume all activities as soon as possible.

Sulawesi was ravaged by two quakes measuring 6.1 and 7.5 on the Richter scale on September 28. A 6m tsunami hit the shores after the second quake struck the area in the afternoon of the same day.

The death toll following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami has now climbed to 1,249 and may continue rising as hundreds are said to be trapped under the debris. As many as 48,000 people have been evacuated.

Currently, Indonesian authorised agencies are providing food and necessities to Sulawesi, while also stepping up rescue activities. –VNA