The number of people known to have died in Indonesia in Friday’s earthquake and tsunami has risen to more than 1 347, the country’s disaster response agency says.

The death toll jumped today from a previous confirmed figure of 844.

The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu.

Police are guarding shops against looters as people desperately search for food, fuel and water.

Officers initially took a lenient approach to survivors seizing basic goods, deputy national police chief Ari Dono Sukmanto said, but some people have since been arrested for stealing computers and cash.

Humanitarian relief convoys entering the city are now being escorted by soldiers and police, and there are fears some survivors may still be trapped under the rubble of buildings.

Everyone in Palu is focused on trying to get basic goods for their families and all normal services in the town have broken down and there’s little running water, power, food or drinking water.

People there are desperate.

Suddenly the police shouted, warning everyone to back off, followed by volleys of shots fired in the air and tear gas. Some of the men threw stones at the police; for a moment it seemed it might escalate.

Indonesian Red Cross officials have told the BBC that the bodies of 34 Indonesian students were found under a church buried by a mudslide.

They were among a group of 86 students reported missing from a Bible camp in the Jonooge Church Training Centre.

The whereabouts of the other 52 students are not known.

The identities and ages of the students could not yet be confirmed.

Rescuers are also still hunting for survivors in the ruins of a four-storey hotel in the town.

An estimated 50 people were inside the Hotel Roa Roa when it collapsed and about 12 people have been recovered – only three came out alive.

Across Palu, blocked roads, a damaged airport and broken telecommunications have made it difficult to bring help into the affected area, and impossible to contact more remote regions.

With hospitals damaged, injured people have been treated in the open and at least one military field hospital has been set up.

The military has taken over the airport to fly aid in, and injured people and other evacuees out.

 

-BBC