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THE Indonesian military has ordered its soldiers to shoot people caught looting on the quake and tsunami-struck island of Sulawesi, a colonel said on Wednesday, amid widespread desperation of survivors raiding shops for food and water.

The official death toll from the 7.5 magnitude quake that struck the west coast of the island of Sulawesi last Friday stood at 1,234, many killed by tsunami waves triggered by the quake.

The city of Palu and surrounding districts on the island of Sulawesi were rocked by the 7.5 magnitude natural disaster last week, killing more than 1,400 people and destroying thousands of homes, as well as damaging bridges and other infrastructure. Local television said the man, the only foreigner known to have perished in the disaster, was a paraglider taking part in an event in the area.

But the death toll, now above 1,500 hundred is still expected to climb.

During a televised press conference in Jakarta, National Agency for Disaster Management spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that at least 113 people were still missing.

Catastrophe bonds and the support of International Monetary Fund and World Bank entities could help Indonesia to put in place a funding mechanism that provides liquidity immediately after disaster strike, while the insurance and reinsurance market could help the government protect its own balance-sheet and buffer taxpayers.

Communication links are down and bridges and roads have been destroyed or blocked.

The chanting marked the end of a day filled with prayers and more burials as many survivors leaned on their faith to help them overcome grief and confusion.

"The earth was like a blender, blending everything in its way", said Hasnah, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name. "Now we have nothing at all....we tried everything and have no response", he said.

Save the Children said it has sent more than 1,000 kits to support shelter, hygiene, child-friendly spaces and temporary educational facilities. The US had provided initial funding, deployed government disaster experts and is working to determine what other help can be given, the US state department said earlier this week. Most of the confirmed dead have come from Palu and losses in remote areas remain unknown.

"We're racing against time", said Dwi Sulaksono, commander of the navy base in Makassar, as supplies were unloaded from an Indonesian warship.

"But we still can not be sure because there's a possibility that some people managed to get out", he said.

The Indonesian government initially refused to accept worldwide help, insisting its own military could handle the response, but as the scale of the disaster became clear President Joko Widodo reluctantly agreed to allow in foreign aid groups and governments.