Britain sending experts to Indonesia in aftermath of devastating natural disaster

1,200 convicts escape Indonesian prisons in quake-tsunami zone

"We face many obstacles", said Sutopo Nugroho, spokesperson for the Indonesian Disaster and Mitigation Agency, at a media briefing Monday.

The twin natural disaster had struck the Palu city, where around 380,000 people lived, and reports suggest that a big number of people are still trapped under the debris of fallen buildings.

The death toll in the 7.5-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami that that smashed into Sulawesi, Indonesia rose to 1,234 on Tuesday, according to country's National Disaster Management Agency.

The death toll in Indonesia has reached 844 following the devastating quake last week, with thousands more still trapped under rubble or missing.

Indonesia's President formally invited foreign donors to contribute to rescue and recovery efforts on the quake-and-tsunami-struck-island of Sulawesi on Monday, but his government was at pains to stress the situation was under control.

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Local administration head Kasman Lassa said residents should take only food staples from shops.

"Everyone is hungry and they want to eat after several days of not eating", Lassa said. "We don't have any other choice, we must get food". A region of 300,000 people has been cut off from communications since Friday. "So, on this issue, we can not pressure them to hold much longer".

Now the group will reconvene to find ways to help victims of this latest disaster recover, too.

( Reuters ) A woman cries as she waits to be evacuated by military aircraft at Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

"The city of Palu has been devastated and first reports out of Donggala indicate that it has also been hit extremely hard by the double disaster", Gelfand said. Another body was pulled out from the ruins of the 80-room Hotel Roa-Roa where more than 50 people were feared trapped.

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A 100-metre wide mass grave in the town has already been filled with more than 500 bodies.

The Palu airport was reopened to commercial flights on Sunday, but humanitarian aid flights will be given priority, according to the authorities.

President Joko Widodo authorised the acceptance of global help, with generators, heavy equipment and tents were among the most-needed items.

Widodo also agreed to accept worldwide help for disaster response and relief, officials said.

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