Indonesia tsunami: Search for survivors ends as death toll reaches 1500

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Fuel remained another concern, with villagers forced to queue at pumps for more than six hours. "I didn't manage to take any valuables but we are alive and that's most important", Yuli, who goes by one name, said on local television.

The national disaster agency says 1,700 homes in one neighbourhood alone were swallowed up and hundreds of people killed.

"If there is looting again, we will quickly fire a warning shot and then shoot to immobilise", he said.

"This is a time for ASEAN solidarity".

Not far away, rescuers were using small flags to mark the location of bodies found in the debris.

Meanwhile, the authorities have set a tentative deadline of Friday to find anyone still trapped under rubble, at which point a week after this devastating double disaster the chances of finding survivors will dwindle to nearly zero.

Structures have been totally wiped out after a massive natural disaster and tsunami hit Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

But it is not just Palu that is suffering in the aftermath.

As massive tremors threw the family around like rag dolls, the terrified family of five managed to tumble out of their house and run along asphalt roads that were splitting under their bare feet.

More than 70,000 homes are thought to have been wrecked by the quake, demolished by the tsunami or engulfed by mud slides.

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A week after a major natural disaster brought devastation to Indonesia's Sulawesi island, Ichsan Hidayat found his sister and her baby daughter, who were killed when their neighbourhood became a churning sea of mud and debris. "But not yet to the most inaccessible places", Sinta said.

"Things are improving", Mr Azhari Samad, a 56-year-old insurance salesman, told AFP at a mosque in Palu.

Indonesia has the world's biggest Muslim population but also pockets of Christians, including on Sulawesi, and other religions.

The 7.5-magnitude quake and the tsunami it spawned hit the provincial capital of Palu and the neighboring city of Donggala in Indonesia over the weekend.

"I'm so disappointed. They said they would come with the heavy machines but they didn't".

An airport damaged by the natural disaster in central Indonesia is expected to re-open to civilian traffic later Thursday.

He said foreign aid is starting to reach the area.

An global effort to help is gearing up, after the government overcame a traditional reluctance to take foreign help, according to Reuters.

The Indonesian government previously allowed tsunami survivors to take food and other basic supplies from grocery stores to temporarily support their lives after the tsunami while aids were being delivered to them.

Indonesia and its 18,000 islands are located along the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire" and are frequently struck by natural disaster, volcano and tsunami activity.