Indonesia quake losses soar to 1.2 billion dollars

The 7.4-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Indonesia's Sulawesi province last month has caused at least 18.48 trillion rupiah (1.217 billion dollars) worth of damage, an official from the country's national disaster agency said on Sunday.

The figure, which was set on Saturday, is much higher than the 13.82 trillion rupiah estimated by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) data a week earlier.

It is expected to rise as government agencies continue to assess the damage caused by the disaster, which hit the regions of Palu, Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Moutong on September 28 and killed more than 2,000 people.

BNPB spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said in a statement that half of the losses were from housing and most of the destruction had occurred in Palu, the provincial capital.

"Houses and buildings in Palu's coastal areas have been badly damaged and flattened to the ground after they were hit with a tsunami that reached up to 11 metres and swept half a kilometre inland," Nugroho said.

Thousand of houses in Palu's residential areas of Balaroa, Petobo, Jono Oge and Sibalaya were sucked into liquefied soil as they were built too close to fault lines.

As of Sunday, the death toll has reached 2,086, while 1,309 people were still missing, 4,438 injured and more than 200,000 displaced.

Nugroho said the government had lifted its state of emergency on Friday and the region was now in a transition phase for two months to restore basic infrastructure and build temporary housing until Christmas before it enters the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.

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