Residents to depart from earthquake-hit area aboard Pelni ship

Residents to depart from earthquake-hit area aboard Pelni ship

Pelni ship (ANTARA /Kornelis Kaha)

Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - Thousands of residents in Palu, Central Sulawesi, looking to leave the earthquake-stricken area, will be transported aboard a ship of state-owned shipping company PT Pelni, Indonesian Military (TNI) Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto stated.

"Some three to five thousand people will be transported aboard a Pelni ship. I have established coordination with the state enterprises minister, and the ship is there. They (the earthquake victims) will be transported out of Palu," Tjahjanto noted here on Monday.

Earlier, thousands of people had flocked to the Mutiara Sis Al Jufri airport in Palu to leave the city aboard the Indonesian Air Force`s Hercules military transport aircraft.

"Some three to five thousand people want to be transported aboard the Hercules aircraft. However, it is clear now that the Hercules can continue its operation," he stated.

With the limited fleet of Hercules, the TNI has to focus on the evacuation of injured victims.

The military chief is scheduled to visit Palu on Tuesday along with Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto.

"I have reported the situation to Minister Wiranto. It is clear that there is no more problem. I will go there tomorrow along with the minister," he added.

The magnitude-7.4 earthquake and a subsequent tsunami that devastated Palu and Donggala, Central Sulawesi Province, on Sept 28 has, so far, claimed 1,203 lives.

The death toll is feared to rise, as there were still many missing, including 61 foreign nationals, and 540 seriously injured being treated at several hospitals.

Reporting by Syaiful Hakim
Editing by Sri Haryati