Indonesia disaster: 34 bodies recovered from church ruins

Oct 02, 2018, 1:44 AM EDT

The death toll from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia last week reached 844 on Tuesday after 34 bodies were recovered from the debris of a church buried by a mudslide triggered by the quake in the city of Palu.

Amid heart-wrenching scenes, “overpowering” smell of decomposing bodies and “unimaginable trauma,” the rescuers are hunting for survivors, slogging through blocked roads and damaged infrastructure even as aftershocks continue to jolt the region, notes the BBC.

The fatalities are expected to go higher as rescue operations reach remote parts of the country. Hundreds of thousands of people, including children, in Sulawesi are stranded in makeshift shelter homes, cut from power supplies and with barely any food, medicine or even clean water to drink.

Mass burials are taking place in Palu alongside cautious rescue operations to prevent hurting the trapped survivors from moving debris, writes Reuters. According to the Red Cross estimates, more than 60,000 people have been displaced and nearly 1.6 million people affected by the quake and subsequent tsunami in Indonesia.