The death toll in Indonesia's twin quake-tsunami disaster rose to almost 1,400 Wednesday, with time running out to rescue survivors and the United Nations warning of "vast" unmet needs.
The quake and tsunami which struck the area on Friday which has left over 1,400 people dead.
"We will start again here ourselves because God does not strike twice", said Eko Joko who was building a new house, a wooden A-frame home, in the midst of a wasteland of concrete, mangled sheets of iron and uprooted trees near Palu's beach.
Nevertheless there were signs of life returning to normal, with children playing in the streets, radios blaring out music, and electricity back up and running in most places.
"Please tell the government and the NGOs if they're really willing to help us with some food please do not give it away through the command posts", said Andi Rusding, who was huddled with his relatives under a tarpaulin.
"We will be working with Indonesian authorities and our global partners to provide an air bridge between Balikpapan and Palu and help bring aid supplies to where they are needed most".
"It's really hard to find water and we don't have a place to shower, but thank God we got some aid from the government, including a medical checkup", said Masrita Arifin, who was camped out a few hundred meters (yards) from her family's heavily damaged home.
The large majority of the deaths were in the city of Palu, home to 350,000 people.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters in Washington: "We will be working very closely with the Indonesian government to make sure that the support we are providing is highly targeted".
He says how many plane loads of aid fly from Darwin will depend on future Indonesian requests for help.
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Debris of collapsed houses and roads mixed and piled up to each other, witnesses said.
Supply of gasoline has also been gradually improving as the government ordered state-run oil and gas firm Pertamina to mobilize its gasoline stocks stored in provinces around Central Sulawesi to Palu.
The powerful natural disaster and tsunami that struck Palu and surrounding areas on September 28 left at least 1,649 people dead.
They are unsure when they'll be able to rebuild and spend hours each day often futilely trying to secure necessities such as fuel for generators.
Eastern Indonesia is vulnerable to graver risks of quakes and tsunamis as it lies on an area where three plates of Indo-Australia, Eurasia and Pacific meet, according to Sutopo.
Among those leaving are a group of students attending an Islamic competition in the Sumatran city of Medan.
As survivors pick through the shattered remains of their neighborhoods, the death toll continues to rise.
As a result of the disaster, it is estimated that 65,000 houses have suffered some form of damage, this includes an estimated 10,000 houses that were completely destroyed by the tsunami, as well as 15,000 houses that suffered severe quake damage. Stores were also closed.
"Twelve people in this area haven't yet been found", Mohammad ThahirTalib told AFP.