The Jakarta Post
Survivors of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Central Sulawesi last month have started to return to their homes, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said on Sunday.
After reaching a peak of 70,821 last week, the number of displaced people has fallen to 62,359 in 147 locations across the province.
“[The survivors] cannot stay for very long in the displaced persons camps because [the children] must return to school soon,” BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said at a press conference on Sunday, adding that emergency schools may be set up using tents. Over 2,500 schools in Palu, Donggala and Sigi have been damaged in the disaster.
Sutopo also said that over 8,000 evacuees had also left Palu through both air and sea transportation to Makassar, South Sulawesi; Balikpapan, East Kalimantan; Jakarta; and Manado, North Sulawesi.
“They are people who want to leave Palu temporarily to stay at their relatives houses in their respective cities, because they are still traumatized [by the quake] and struggle to meet their daily needs,” he said. “[They were] facilitated by the government [to leave] via air and sea.”
He added that some evacuees had also left Palu independently using their own vehicles, but their numbers were difficult to confirm.
He said that a further 5,000 people were suspected to be missing in the Palu subdistricts of Balaroa and Petobo but that officials were still looking to verify the claims.
“If a victim is not found after 14 days, then they will be declared missing,” he said. (kmt)