Rescuers race to find Indonesia quake victims, a day before search halts

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Rescuers raced to find victims beneath the rubble of Indonesia’s Balaroa village on Wednesday, one day before a government-set deadline to halt the search following last week’s powerful earthquake and tsunami.

A dozen excavators were seen digging for bodies in Balaroa village, where more than 1 700 homes sank underground due to a phenomenon called liquefaction, which turns the ground into a roiling quagmire, destroying houses and dragging people under the mud and debris.

Rescue and aid workers said that after the Thursday (October 11) deadline, efforts will focus on rebuilding the community.

More than 2 000 people have been found dead in the city of Palu since a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Sulawesi island on September 28.

No one knows how many people are missing but it could be as high as 5 000, the national disaster agency has said.