Disease fears as more bodies found in Indonesia disaster

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Gb news24 desk//

Rescuers picking through the grim aftermath of Indonesia’s quake-tsunami issued a fresh public health warning Saturday as more decaying corpses were unearthed from beneath the ruined city of Palu.

More than a thousand people may still be missing in the seaside city on Sulawesi island, officials said, after the region was hit by a powerful quake and a wall of water, with the official death toll now at 1,571.

Hopes of finding anyone alive a full eight days since the disaster have all but faded, though Indonesian authorities have not officially called off the search for survivors.

There are fears that vast numbers of decomposing bodies could be buried beneath Petobo and Balaroa — two areas virtually wiped off the map — and authorities have warned survivors to steer clear as they brace for more macabre discoveries.

“Most of the bodies we have found are not intact, and that poses a danger for the rescuers. We have to be very careful to avoid contamination,” Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue effort, told AFP from Palu.

“We have vaccinated our teams, but we need to be extra cautious as they are exposed to health hazards. This is also a health concern for the public. It is very hard to control the crowd… People might be exposed to danger.”

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