Indonesia's grim search for disaster dead draws to a close

The 6.0 magnitude struck just off the popular holiday destination of Bali. Image USGSMore

Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and numerous world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

The International Monetary Fund and its sister lending organisation, the World Bank, are holding annual meetings on Bali through to Sunday.

Rescue workers in Indonesia stepped up their search for victims of an natural disaster and tsunami on Tuesday, hoping to find as many bodies as they can before this week's deadline for their work to halt, as the official death toll rose to 2,010.

The three deaths in East Java occurred after buildings collapsed while people were sleeping, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency, said in a statement.

The magnitude 7.5-quake and a subsequent tsunami razed whole swathes of Palu to the ground on 28 September.

The strong quake was felt in Denpasar on the holiday island of Bali, where panicked people fled from buildings.

The nighttime quake was centred at sea, 55 kilometres northeast of Situbondo city.

Save the Children's affiliated organisation in Indonesia said there could be as many as 1,500 children still missing.

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Central Sulawesi was devastated when hit by a 7.5 magnitude quake last month which killed nearly 2000 people with hundreds more still missing.

Those zones were all but destroyed by liquefaction, a phenomenon where the brute force of a quake turns soil to quicksand.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said waves less than 0.3 meter high could be expected on coastlines in Papua New Guinea and neighboring Solomon Islands.

"We're not sure what will happen afterwards, so we're trying to work as fast as possible", said rescue worker Ahmad Amin, 29, referring to the deadline, as he took a break in the badly hit Balaroa neighborhood.

"People are traumatized. They don't want to go back" to those places, Nugroho said.

"At the same time, if they ask us to help, if they're pointing "please look here, my family is under here", of course, we can't say "no", we have to dig". Nugroho said there's no need for global aid other than the four priorities identified by Indonesia - tents, water treatment units, generators and transport.

The search for those killed in Indonesia's quake-tsunami disaster was called off Thursday, despite there being around 5,000 people still missing.

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