Indonesian quakes, tsunami death toll rises to 1,249

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PALU, Indonesia-Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered more rescuers to hunt for victims of a devastating natural disaster and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi, saying on Tuesday everyone had to be found, as the scale of destruction became clearer.

Donggala and other outlying areas have received little assistance, largely due to impassable roads, the Press Association reports. According to news agencies, more than 1200 people are dead now.

"We have anticipated it by providing food, rice, but it was not enough".

"We suspect there are still some survivors trapped inside", said Agus Haryono, head of a rescue team working at the site.

The tsunami with the height of 0.5 to 3 metres devastated coastal areas near Talisa beach in Palu city and Donggala district. "In Petobo, it is estimated that there are still hundreds of victims buried in mud", Nugroho said.

Nearly 200,000 people are in need of urgent help, the United Nations says, among them thousands of children.

Indonesian authorities have announced that the bodies of the dead will be tagged and temporarily interred in a mass grave in the hills above the city, to prevent the outbreak of disease.

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More than 840 people have died after Friday's quake and tsunami, according to official figures, but the actual number is believed to be far higher - possibly in the thousands.

Video showed some of them screaming in anger because they were not able to get on a departing military plane.

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Ridwan Sobri, a spokesperson for the Indonesian Red Cross, told the BBC: "The mud conditions in that area are awful, we have to walk about one-and-a-half hours to reach [the mudslide area], that makes it very hard".

Priority will be given to evacuating survivors and allowing aid workers to bring in food and fresh water, said Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who visited the disaster site on Sunday.

Antara Foto Agency / Reuters An Indonesian rescue team searches for victims and survivors at the earthquake-damaged Roa Roa hotel in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, October 1, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.

Officials have said the European Union, United States and China have also offered help.

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