Indonesian Government Considers Mass Graves After Natural Disaster

Indonesian residents of Palu are devastated as search teams find bodies among the rubble after a powerful combination of an earthquake and tsunami. More aid is flowing in from around the world to help the survivors. However, the government is wondering about the dead. Perhaps even looking into the idea of mass graves.

The Disaster agency in Indonesia counts the death toll around 1,649, and at least 265 people are still unaccounted for. Although, that number could be higher.

One week past the disasters, dead are still turning up. Relatives of the victims place long white cloth pieces representing a Muslim burial rite.

Rudy Rahman, one of the mourners, said a rescue team found the bodies of his sons, 18 and 16 years old. His youngest son, in the meantime, is still missing.

During an interview, Rahman said authorities found his sons in their Uncle’s house just opposite the mosque. A rescue team found the bodies of the two boys huddled together as they faced their deaths together.

One of the hardest hit areas was Balaroa. The magnitude 7.5 earthquake on the 28th of September threw homes tens of meters and caused cars to perch upright on erupted concrete. Many children were in the local mosque when the quake hit for a recitation of the Quran. An assistant to the Imam said that none survived.

Could Mass Graves Be the Best Option for the Indonesian Victims and Their Families?

Wiranto, the top security minister of Indonesia mentioned the government is considering turning both Balaroa and Petobo, another neighborhood struck with disaster, into mass graves. The force of the earthquake liquefied the soft soil of Petobo, making it disappear into the earth. The same occurrence happened with much of Balaroa.

Efforts to locate bodies are problematic in these neighborhoods according to Wiranto. Many homes fell into the earth, possibly burying hundreds of victims. Heavy equipment isn’t safe to operate there either.

A Self Defense Force plane from Japan landed in the airport of Palu Saturday morning. There, Soldiers distributed supplies including medicine and portable generators. Other nations have also sent planes carrying aid for those stricken by the natural disasters.

The Red Cross set up one of its makeshift clinics in the small village of Pewunu. In the field where the medical group set up camp, evacuees rest, sleeping under tarps.

Red Cross asked what needs the people had while doctors made medical checks on elderly residents who made their way over to them.

The residents in the village conveyed that they had clean water and noodles, but that was about it.

Both the earthquake and tsunami decimated buildings along the coastline for miles. Power and communications were also knocked out for days following the disasters.

The Indonesian government has appealed for help on an international level to help with the tragedy on Sulawesi island.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the United Nations says that Indonesia needs roughly $50.5 million to give life-saving aid.