PALU, Indonesia — The rebuilding of an Indonesian city shattered by an earthquake and tsunami will take two years, a disaster official said Thursday, as the search for victims buried in obliterated neighborhoods neared its end.
The national disaster agency’s spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said the official search and rescue effort would end Friday.
Officials plan prayers in areas such as Balaroa, Petobo, and Jono Oge, where the force of the Sept. 28 quake liquefied soft soil and tore apart neighborhoods. Assessments of the cost of reconstruction are being carried out, Nugroho said.
The agency said the official death toll had risen to 2,073 as of Thursday, with most of the fatalities in Palu.
Officially, 680 people are missing, but officials have acknowledged the number could be several thousand because hundreds of homes were sucked into the earth.
Save the Children’s affiliated organization in Indonesia said there could be as many as 1,500 children missing.