Earthquake offers quick escape for Indonesian prisoners

Oct 02, 2018, 08:06 IST | Agencies

Around 1,200 Indonesian convicts escape from 3 detention facilities in devastated Sulawesi

Earthquake offers quick escape for Indonesian prisoners
A woman walks through a devastated area in Palu

Some 1,200 Indonesian convicts escaped from three different detention facilities in the devastated region of Sulawesi following an earthquake and tsunami disaster, a justice ministry official said Monday.

The mass prison break happened after the powerful tremor sparked a wall of water that devastated the small city of Palu on Friday. Ministry of Justice official Sri Puguh Utami said inmates had fled from two overcapacity facilities in Palu and another in Donggala, an area also hit by the disaster.

"I'm sure they escaped because they feared they would be affected by the earthquake. This is for sure a matter of life and death for the prisoners," she said. The facility in Donggala was set on fire and all 343 inmates were now on the run, Utami said.

Most of the convicts were jailed for corruption and narcotics offences, she said. Five people convicted of terror-related crimes had been moved from the prison just days before the disaster.

Officials carry body bags into a mass grave ahead of a funeral for quake victims in Palu. Pics/AFP
Officials carry body bags into a mass grave ahead of a funeral for quake victims in Palu. Pics/AFP

Death toll from quake rises to 844
Rescuers continued on Monday to hunt for survivors in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that killed 844 people in Indonesia's Sulawesi island, leading to large-scale destruction and prompting food and fuel shortage. Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the final death toll could be in the thousands. An estimated 2.4 million people were affected by the disaster. At least 600 people were hospitalized and over 48,000 were displaced. Officials fear the toll will rise steeply in the coming days.

1,91,000 need urgent help: UN
The UN's relief agency believes that 191,000 people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in Indonesia's quake and tsunami-battered region of Sulawesi, according to an assessment published Monday. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the figure included around 46,000 children and 14,000 elderly Indonesians, many beyond urban areas that are the focus of government recovery efforts.

Typhoon Trami hammers Japan
At least two people were killed and 100 injured as Typhoon Trami hit the Japanese mainland on Sunday. Evacuation orders for more than 1,20,000 people in central and western Japan as well as on northern Hokkaido island have been issued by the government, reported Sputnik International citing local media. Around 4,50,000 homes in Tokyo and neighbouring areas have been facing power cut due to the weather and strong winds. The typhoon is projected to hit regions ravaged earlier this month by Typhoon Jebi.

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