Natural disaster in Indonesia: the number of victims exceeded 1,640

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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.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia's disaster agency, said those who had not been found by Thursday would be listed as missing, presumed dead.

Indonesian soldiers help offload the 10.6 tonnes of supplies brought by a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft to Palu, the Indonesian port city devastated by a 7.5-magnitude natural disaster and tsunami on 28 September.

No one knows how many people are missing but it is at least in the hundreds, rescuers say. The victims can be considered as "martyrs", he added.

Despite that, Allibert said it had been hard to get permits for Sulawesi. The most important items were aircraft, generators, tents, water treatment and field medical facilities, he said.

The Aid or access is still an obstacle to reach the stricken communities on Indonesian island of Sulawesi, UN aid agencies said on Friday.

Multinational companies such as Google and Apple have also pledged monetary assistance, in addition to £11.6 million from the United Nations and millions more from other countries.

Worldwide volunteers said many camps lack adequate sanitation, sparking fears of the spread of disease. Two people from his congregation were missing, he said.

The national disaster agency says 1,700 homes in one neighbourhood alone were swallowed up.

Indonesian police say 92 people have been arrested for looting goods in areas devastated by an natural disaster and tsunami in Central Sulawesi province.

But the trickle of worldwide aid to Palu and local efforts to help the survivors have accelerated in recent days. He said security will be necessary for economic activity to resume.

Life is on hold for thousands living in tents and shelters in the Indonesian city hit by a powerful natural disaster and tsunami.

Michael Lesmeister, director of Germany's ISAR-Germany (International Search and Rescue) group, said landing permits for his staff and cargo had come through and, after a three-day wait, they were set to install a water-purification system in Palu.

Other survivors also said they heard no sirens, even though a tsunami warning was issued and then lifted 34 minutes after the quake, based on data available from the closest tidal sensor, around 200 km (125 miles) from Palu, which is on Sulawesi island.

CPL Laura Kjestrup helps a family as they arrive at Balikpapan airport. Figures for more remote areas are trickling in but they seem to have suffered fewer deaths than the city.

"When the land split, she happened to be on the side that collapsed", he said.

The official toll has surpassed 1,400 deaths with thousands injured and 70,000 residents displaced.

Powerful and shallow quakes of 6.0, 7.4 and 6.1 magnitude that triggered a tsunami devastated the province on September 28 with the hardest-hit area in Palu and adjoining Donggala district.

The U.N. announced a $15 million allocation to bolster relief efforts.