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Officials fear at least 5,000 people may still be missing in Indonesia following a deadly natural disaster and tsunami that killed 1,763 people and devastated the northern island of Sulawesi.

Getting vital supplies to the affected areas has proved hugely challenging, with the number of flights able to land at Palu's small airport still limited, leaving aid workers facing grueling overland journeys.

"You have people circling those areas trying to get in but it's literally inaccessible", he said, adding that even standing just 200 metres from the remains of buildings "you can't actually get into those areas because the mud is thigh- or waist-deep".

Besson said the team was unable to reach the victim, who was trapped under thick concrete.

The natural disaster triggered tsunami waves that reached six meters.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a briefing in Jakarta some limited searching might continue but large-scale searches with many personnel and heavy equipment would cease on October 11.

Local television reported that rescuers pulled out the bodies of the South Korean and an Indonesian from under the wreckage of the Roa Roa Hotel in the city of Palu, where most of the 1,424 deaths have been. Many of lie buried in the mud.

'Most of the bodies we have found are not intact, and that poses a danger for the rescuers. The government shunned foreign aid this year when earthquakes struck the island of Lombok but said it would accept help from overseas for Sulawesi.

"They really need help", said Sidharta.

Reports indicate that the country's early detection warning systems were not working before the tsunami hit.

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Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho posted a graphic on his Twitter account showing around 450 aftershocks being recorded in the area since the September 28 quake, but they have decreased in frequency and intensity. He said Japan and Qatar are waiting for clearance to send planes.

Sulawesi is one of the archipelago nation's five main islands, and like the others, is exposed to frequent earthquakes and tsunami.

A floating hospital run by the Indonesian navy and docked in Palu port has already assisted with the delivery of a baby, local media reported.

The aid is part of a $3.6 million relief commitment, including more than 50 medical professionals, that Australia made on Wednesday.

The official death toll has risen to 1,763 but bodies are still being recovered, at least 34 in one place alone on Saturday and more on Sunday. Two people from his congregation were missing, he said.

"What is the benefit for us Indonesian people, especially in this time of catastrophe", Fadli Zon, deputy speaker of parliament from the opposition Gerindra party, said on Twitter, taking issue with government spending on the meeting.

Thousands of survivors continued to stream out of Palu to nearby cities in the aftermath of the disaster. They were from Palu and the surrounding districts struck by the disasters last Friday.

62,000 people remain displaced as aid donations slowly reach those impacted by the disaster. He said security will be necessary for economic activity to resume.

Hasnah said she has enough food and water but she's furious that a search and rescue operation in her area only began on Thursday.