Chaos in Palu after quake as survivors deal with hunger, thirst

Survivors line up at a service station to get gasoline in Palu, Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi on October 1, after an earthquake and tsunami hit the area.

In the wake of mass destruction caused by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, survivors in Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi of Indonesia have been scrambling to salvage food supplies and other items, as aid from the central government began to trickle into the region, The Jakarta Post reported.

It said on Monday, many survivors blocked trucks carrying aid to plunder the contents as many have gone hungry and thirsty for days.

The Jakarta Post’s correspondent saw people waiting for fuel at a Pertamina gas station asking the entourage of journalists and officials from Jakarta for drinking water. “Drinking water, drinking water, please,” some survivors said to passing motorists.

“I ran into a mother and her child at the airport who asked me to share some of my water with her child,” correspondent Andi Hajramurni said. “’Just a little, enough for my child” Hajramurni quoted the mother as saying to her.

A pregnant woman was also found exhausted outside the airport. She said she was upset to see aid being unloaded from the planes but none reaching the survivors waiting to leave the city at the airport.

Thousands crowded Mutiara Sis Al Jufri airport to leave the devastated city while staving off hunger and thirst under the scorching heat. The survivors have been waiting for a chance to flee the city since Saturday, camping outside on mats or cardboard. They were hoping to catch a plane to Makassar to later go to their respective hometowns.

“What is important is to get out of Palu. We have agreed to meet Papa in Makassar and then go to Jakarta,” Paramita said Monday. The 29-year-old, who sustained an injury to her leg from falling concrete debris, is taking her two sisters with her.

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