News World Dozens detained over looting as quake survivors search continues

Dozens detained over looting as quake survivors search continues

French members of the International Emergency Firefighters prepare to enter the Mecure hotel in Palu on Thursday. Photo: AFP/Getty
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At least 92 people have been detained for looting on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, where at least 1424 people died after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake and tsunami last week, Indonesian police say.

Cars, motorcycles, cigarettes, coffee and food products were stolen in the five regions of Central Sulawesi province, according to police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo, who added that police expected more arrests.

Most of the looting has occurred in Palu – the provincial capital – although thefts were also recorded in nearby Sigi, Toli-Toli and Donggala regencies, Dedi said at a press conference where dozens of detainees and stolen items were presented.

The Indonesian military has deployed several soldiers in front of shops, ATMs, gas pumps and airports as the authorities work to co-ordinate the distribution of aid to the region where more than 70,000 people have been displaced.

Indonesian military officers unload relief goods from KRI Ahmad Yani at Pantaloan sea port in Palu on Thursday, six days after an earthquake triggered a tsunami. Photo: Getty

In Palu, which has been most affected by the earthquake, military and disaster management agency’s trucks were distributing relief goods along the roads, while the Red Cross distributed blankets and mattresses that were brought to the area by sea, the organisation said.

Most of those displaced by the earthquake are among the 350,000 residents of Palu, and while the power supply has been restored to some districts, rolling blackouts continue to hit the city.

Inhabitants of more remote, rural areas have complained of a lack of aid and support since the disaster, which also left 2500 people with serious injuries and damaged over 65,000 houses.

An Indonesian man checks items left at his devastated house at the Petobo subdistrict of Palu. Photo: Getty