Hear quake survivors describe fight to survive

CNN's Matt Rivers reports from Petobo, Indonesia, where families shared harrowing stories of survival following a devastating earthquake.

Posted: Oct 4, 2018 10:27 PM
Updated: Oct 4, 2018 10:29 PM

The ground was still shaking when Martinus Hamaele entered the shattered ruins of the Mercure Hotel, a five-storey building on the Palu coast, shortly after the earthquake and tsunami which devastated the city on Friday.

Screams and cries for help led him to six different people, all of whom he helped pull out of the rubble, despite several floors of the seaside resort having already collapsed.

But his 20-year-old daughter Marienne wasn't one of them.

"We just kept shouting, Marienne, Marienne, where are you Marienne? It's us!" he told CNN. She never answered and Martinus has waiting outside the hotel for news for six days.

Sitting on the shoreline, the Mercure was one of the first buildings to receive the full brunt of Friday's tsunami. Almost a week after the disaster, the hotel remains wrecked.

Walls are missing, exposing rooms torn apart by the force of the quake and the huge waves that followed. Emergency services are still at the site, looking for trapped survivors and trying to avoid further collapse.

Rescue work has been slow and painstaking. Crews still lack the heavy equipment needed to remove bulky debris, and enough people with the expertise to safely search for survivors.

Bodies are still being recovered across Central Sulawesi, with the death toll of 1,424 expected to rise again.

No one has been found alive inside the hotel since the night of the earthquake but Marienne's brother Frets Ferdinand Hamaele said he isn't going to give up hope.

"It's already been six days. For ordinary humans, it's probably impossible that she's still alive," he said, tearfully. But we never give up hope. At least we can get her body. And if God grants our hope, then she is still alive."

'Obliterated'

Six days after the earthquake and tsunami, more than 100 people are still missing, according to Indonesia's Mitigation and Disaster Agency (BNPB). At least 70,000 are homeless and hospitals with few resources are treating about 2,500 injured people.

Basic food and water supplies have begun to flow back into the region but infrastructure is badly damaged, with some affected towns remaining inaccessible overland.

When the Indonesian Red Cross finally arrived at the village of Petobo, Indonesia, on Wednesday, they simply said the town had been "obliterated."

"(We) found that the village -- which was home to almost 500 people -- no longer existed," the Red Cross said in a statement.

Locals in Petobo told CNN they saw the ground turn to liquid before their eyes, watching loved ones' homes collapse into the earth, with many barely escaping.

Thousands of people in Palu are fleeing aboard Indonesian military ships which arrived with supplies for the devastated region, according to the BNPB.

Others waited in line at Palu Airport for a chance to hitchhike on one of the enormous Hercules planes departing for Makassar, Manado and Balikpapan, a port city on the Indonesian island of Borneo.

"I am positive I'll be able to fly out today, since the crowd is much smaller than yesterday. My parents managed to fly yesterday," said 24-year-old Chikal, who only goes by one name.

Damage at Palu Airport has prevented some larger planes from landing, the head of the Airport Authority Benyamin Noah told CNN. However, he said more should be able to land later this week.

"We are still fixing the runway and apron ... (plus) we want to make sure the facilities work," he said. Despite the shortfalls, humanitarian flights are coming in 24 hours a day.

The airport is still packed with people hoping to flee Palu and central Sulawesi for safer locations, but airport staff said the numbers were half those of the panicked surges from earlier in the week.

Evacuees still can't buy tickets at the airport itself, there's no ticket counter. The terminal itself remains closed and debris still litters the drop-off area. Precious passes out of the disaster can only be purchased online.

Aid arrives

Amid the tears and the grim work of recovery, there were the occasional glimmers of hope among the survivors on Thursday.

Eva Sera, a 45-year-old mother, wore a broad smile as she waited with her five children at Palu Airport for a plane to Makassar in South Sulawesi, booked online by a relative in Jakarta.

Earlier on Thursday morning, the Indonesian Navy's Kri Ahmad Yani arrived in Palu carrying supplies, including blankets and tents. On its way back for more supplies, it'll take 250 passengers.

Relieved residents lined the docks with their belongings on Thursday, pleased to leave the devastated city.

Speaking during his visit to the affected area on Wednesday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said his first priority was to re-establish basic services before focusing on rebuilding.

The town of Donggala, which was severely damaged by the disaster and is still inaccessible by road, has received deliveries of water, rice, nappies, milk, clothes and other supplies, courtesy of the Indonesian Navy ship Kalbirang.

The waters close to the town are too shallow for the enormous vessel to dock, so a flotilla of fishing vessels came out to pick up the supplies.

Four oil tankers are on their way to Palu carrying 11.2 million liters of fuel, as electricity is slowly being restored to the region.

Meanwhile on the ground, international aid agencies are working around the clock to help those who can't find a way out or are determined to stay.

"We're doing everything we can to bring medical treatment, clean water and support to the worst-affected areas," Iris van Deinse, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Palu said in a statement.

"The survivors of this disaster have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods. We cannot let them lose hope as well."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1007681

Reported Deaths: 16470
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1355212121
Lake664101166
Allen57993801
Hamilton46350465
St. Joseph44397615
Elkhart35949510
Vanderburgh32251480
Tippecanoe27933260
Johnson25107445
Hendricks23897359
Porter22929365
Madison18748409
Clark18557252
Vigo17479303
Monroe15263200
LaPorte15173250
Delaware15073263
Howard14748290
Kosciusko12348148
Hancock11728176
Bartholomew11639180
Warrick11292189
Floyd11108215
Wayne10986253
Grant10082220
Morgan9472176
Boone8926115
Dubois8271131
Henry8229152
Dearborn822393
Noble8031106
Marshall7939135
Cass7546121
Lawrence7457171
Shelby7189119
Jackson698289
Gibson6597115
Harrison649192
Knox6421106
Huntington6395100
DeKalb632399
Montgomery6264111
Miami593398
Putnam581278
Clinton576171
Whitley565755
Steuben562576
Wabash5332104
Jasper532079
Jefferson511297
Ripley500586
Adams482576
Daviess4677114
Scott438974
Greene425196
Wells424888
Clay423360
White418764
Decatur4169102
Fayette406587
Jennings387361
Posey376644
Washington359151
LaGrange359078
Randolph3452100
Spencer340243
Fountain335760
Sullivan329452
Starke317171
Owen314771
Fulton312667
Orange293664
Jay284645
Franklin265643
Perry265452
Rush262432
Carroll261934
Vermillion258654
Parke231426
Pike229243
Tipton228159
Blackford193142
Pulaski183757
Crawford159823
Newton158348
Benton150617
Brown146747
Martin138719
Switzerland135011
Warren121116
Union107016
Ohio84613
Unassigned0540

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1519304

Reported Deaths: 23955
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1642651696
Cuyahoga1464072459
Hamilton1053661431
Montgomery740661279
Summit617841111
Lucas56338917
Butler51580718
Stark466811064
Lorain35628585
Warren32836377
Mahoning30787693
Clermont28193330
Lake27063448
Delaware24208164
Licking23939294
Trumbull22885561
Fairfield22395247
Greene22350326
Medina22047313
Clark19863354
Richland18586292
Portage17978252
Wood17454224
Allen16001279
Miami15582306
Muskingum14831185
Columbiana14080274
Wayne13791271
Tuscarawas12724311
Marion11976180
Scioto11469162
Pickaway11373142
Erie10904184
Ross10586203
Lawrence9759153
Ashtabula9741204
Hancock9707155
Belmont9309209
Geauga8965157
Jefferson8567199
Huron8404143
Union819859
Washington8093144
Sandusky7827151
Athens777779
Knox7739144
Darke7689158
Seneca7372145
Ashland6967130
Auglaize679799
Shelby6530115
Brown636491
Crawford6274130
Defiance6218105
Mercer616493
Fulton602896
Highland600499
Madison594578
Guernsey593071
Logan591096
Clinton583793
Preble5720125
Putnam5335110
Williams529288
Perry518363
Champaign513173
Jackson510273
Ottawa488586
Coshocton484683
Morrow458858
Pike434367
Fayette429263
Hardin419480
Gallia418467
Adams417195
Van Wert372382
Henry365372
Holmes3642125
Hocking356782
Wyandot324662
Carroll302365
Paulding280347
Meigs265851
Monroe216254
Noble200347
Morgan194033
Harrison182146
Vinton166625
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 50°
Angola
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 40°
Huntington
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 50°
Decatur
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Van Wert
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 56°
Showers on tap for Sunday with the chance of a few thunderstorms.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events