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AFP
September 29, 2019

Mass prayer marks one year since Indonesia quake-tsunami disaster

World

AFP
September 29, 2019

PALU, Indonesia: Thousands attended a mass prayer in the devastated Indonesian city of Palu on Saturday, one year after a quake-tsunami swallowed up whole neighbourhoods and killed more than 4,000 people.

Many in the crowd sobbed as they remembered victims of the 7.5 magnitude quake and subsequent deluge that razed swathes of the coastal city on Sulawesi island last September.

Some 4,300 people were listed as dead or missing while nearly 60,000 people are still living in makeshift accommodation after their homes were destroyed, according to the Red Cross.

The force of the impact saw entire neighbourhoods levelled, with the earth turning to quicksand.

Elsa Lawira, whose seven-year-old son died in the disaster, was among some 3,000 people at Saturday’s vigil, which was held in badly-hit Balaroa district.

"The past year has been traumatic," the 36-year-old Lawira told AFP as she sobbed.

"My only wish is that God will protect my son and a disaster like this never happens again."

Former Balaroa resident Lusiana lost her mother, father, and a sibling in the double catastrophe.

"My life has been just empty this past year," she said. The disaster also destroyed fishing boats, shops, and irrigation systems, robbing many locals of their income.

Rebuilding has been slow, and some people -- still living in temporary shelters -- wonder if they’ll ever have a home again. "I’ve been living in this tent since the quake struck," said Ela, a mother of four.

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