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Indonesia: Quake search, rescue ends in 4 days

Indonesian rescue workers will stop searching for the bodies of victims of an earthquake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi on Thursday, the national disaster mitigation agency said Sunday.

The announcement came after the official death toll from the 7.5 magnitude quake and a tsunami it triggered Sept. 28 rose to 1,763.

Bodies are still being recovered, especially from ruins of buildings in the small city of Palu and from neighborhoods hit by liquefaction, a phenomenon that turns the ground into a roiling quagmire, in the south of city.

“Evacuation stops on October 11,” the national disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news briefing, using an Indonesian word that applies to the search and retrieval of both living and dead people.

“Victims who have not been found are declared missing,” he said. Some limited searching might still be undertaken but large-scale searches with many personnel and heavy equipment would cease, he said.

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