Jakarta: Indonesian authorities will today begin mass burials for hundreds of people killed in Indonesia’s quake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Sulawesi island on September 28. Notably, the death toll from the disaster has soared to 832 and could rise further, the country’s disaster management agency said even as rescue workers combed through concrete and lumber searching for survivors.

Further, the mass burials will be held in the outskirts of Palu, one of the cities most affected by the disaster where 821 of the 832 victims died, reports Efe news. The authorities decided to open the mass grave in order to bury the victims who have already been identified and to prevent the spread of disease, spokesperson for the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said.

Meanwhile, rescue teams continue to search for survivors and other victims under the collapsed buildings demolished by the 7.5-magnitude earthquake, which has left 540 people hospitalised and at least 16,732 others displaced. The authorities are also working to restore basic services such as electricity supply in Palu, where several electric generators were deployed by a Hercules aircraft of the Indonesian Air Force to facilitate the process, according to the BNPB spokesperson.

The Palu airport was reopened to commercial flights on Sunday, but humanitarian aid flights will be given priority, according to the authorities. The Indonesian Health Ministry is supplying additional medical personnel and equipment.

(With IANS inputs)