"We're still scared but we pray because we believe God will help us", said the woman, Eliwati, who wore a bright blue dress with an ethnic Toraja pattern, a splash of colour in a bleak landscape. "Allah willing, heaven for him".
Men with skull caps sat on prayer mats in an open field outside the damaged Agung Mosque in Palu, some weeping openly as they reflected on their losses and prayed for their loved ones.
Almost 2,000 bodies have been recovered from Palu since an natural disaster and tsunami struck the Indonesian city, an official said Monday, warning the number would rise with thousands still missing.
Six more victims were buried Friday in a mass grave, bringing the total to 643.
The quake had caused loose soil to liquefy and turn to mud which engulfed buildings, and the data of persons missing corresponded to the neighbourhood of Petobo in Palu - the provincial capital - where some 2,050 houses were buried under the mud, reports Efe news.
A grieving father was resigned to the search ending without his two-year-old daughter being found.
"We won't force the students to come back because many are traumatized". Now we have nothing at all. Allibert said it would take months to find all the bodies.
Powerful and shallow quakes of 6.0, 7.4 and 6.1 magnitude that triggered a tsunami devastated the province on September 28 with the hardest-hit area in Palu and adjoining Donggala district.
Local rescuers continued to dig at the collapsed four-star hotel.
He said that a further 5,000 people were suspected to be missing in the Palu subdistricts of Balaroa and Petobo but that officials were still looking to verify the claims.
"I am hoping for a miracle", said Bambang, who has been searching daily at the hotel site for his pregnant wife.
Sutopo also said that over 8,000 evacuees had also left Palu through both air and sea transportation to Makassar, South Sulawesi; Balikpapan, East Kalimantan; Jakarta; and Manado, North Sulawesi. Electricity has been restored and some shops and banks have reopened and aid and fuel are arriving.
Teams of Indonesian Red Cross workers set up warehouses and fanned out to distribute supplies across the region, where the double-punch disaster reduced entire neighbourhoods to rubble.
A convoy of five hundred trucks laden with donated food, cooking oil and other essentials was on its way to Palu, agriculture minister Amran Sulaiman said in the devastated city on Saturday.
But the latest tally speaks to the considerable destruction in the worst-hit areas of Petobo and Balaroa as the picture on the ground has become clearer. Officials have listed tents, water treatment equipment, electric generators and disinfectants to fog campsite areas to prevent disease as immediate needs.
"We're already angry", the 25-year-old said. "Thousands of people can not return to their destroyed or damaged homes, aftershocks continue", - said the press service of the office of the United Nations high Commissioner for humanitarian Affairs.
Global volunteers said many camps lack adequate sanitation, sparking fears of the spread of disease.
More than a thousand people may still be missing in the seaside city of Palu, days after the quake struck. "Many children are traumatized and frightened".
"I grabbed my children and fled to the hills when the quake happened".