Wiranto, who uses one name, said heavy equipment cannot operate in such areas because they could potentially sink in the soft mud.
The confirmed death toll from the devastating quake and tsunami on Sulawesi island neared 2,000 on Monday, but thousands more remained unaccounted for and officials have said search teams planned to stop looking for victims later this week. More nations sent aid and humanitarian workers fanned out in the countryside.
The disaster struck part of Sulawesi two weeks ago, leaving at least 1,754 dead and another 2,549 injured.
“I hope my dead son has gone to heaven because he was in the middle of praying”, said Abu Shamsuddin, who attended Friday prayers in the afternoon outside the damaged Agung Mosque in Palu city. Many more remain missing.
Rescue workers retrieved several bodies later on Friday. His wife wept inconsolably.
Besson said the team was unable to reach the victim, who was trapped under thick concrete. Others braved the scorching sun as they listened to the mosque’s imam encouraging them to be courageous.
In other areas, electricity has been restored and markets have reopened. An assistant to the Imam had said none survived.
Many hundreds of people are still buried in mud and debris in the south of Palu, where neighborhoods were obliterated by liquefaction and desperate relatives have been seeking help to find loved ones.
In Balaroa, a massive government housing complex was also subsumed by the quake and rescuers have struggled to extract bodies from the tangled mess in the aftermath of the disaster.
National police spokesman Brigadier General Dedi Prasetyo said security will be ramped up to ensure law and order after 92 people were arrested for looting goods such as motor oil, tyres and farming equipment. The victims can be considered as “martyrs”, he added.
A Japan Air Self-Defense Force transport plane arrived at an airport in worst-hit town of Palu shortly before noon on Saturday.
“Our Hercules was one of the first two foreign aircraft to deliver aid to Palu and Indonesian soldiers cheered as we offloaded the supplies yesterday”.
A plane chartered by Save the Children was also expected to land in the coastal city with emergency shelters and water purification kits, along with another aircraft carrying a medical team from South Africa.
“There was a palpable sense of relief from the evacuees when they got into our Herc”, he said.
“People started shouting “the water is rising” and we had to abandon our boats to save our lives”, he said in he village of Lambonga.
That stretch of coast was not hit by a big tsunami, although surging waves did carry away many fishing boats, they said.
Survivors have ransacked shops and supply trucks in the hunt for basic necessities, prompting security forces to round up dozens of suspected looters and warn that they will open fire on thieves. “All along the roads toward here, they were looted by outsiders”, said Bahamid Fawzi.
“We are so relieved to be alive but sad because so many of our congregation died”, said Dewi Febriani, a 26-year-old economics student, after a service in a tent set up outside her damaged church. Not because we’re thieves, but because we really needed it.