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PALU, Indonesia -- The economic activity in tsunami-hit Indonesia"s Central Sulawesi province has gradually returned to normal as banks and staple food shops opened on Thursday with police and military personnel guarding business districts and gas stations.
Sixth day after the tsunami on Friday, long lines of people, cars and motorbikes were seen in state-owned banks and gas stations run by state oil and gas firm Pertamina in downtown Palu, the provincial capital which was swept by the deadly tsunami.
However, shopping malls, mini markets, private banks and stores lining along the city"s prominent roads have remained closed.
The opening of main economic centers made the city life start to resume as efforts to recover electricity supply and telecommunication system were underway.
Shops, stores, malls, traditional markets and banks shut down following rampant looting carried out by locals after the devastating tsunami triggered by strong earthquakes off Palu coast.
A customer of state bank BRI said he could withdraw cash from the bank"s ATMs as they have been closed due to the looting in the last days.
"Banks, shops and malls still opened one or two days after the earthquake and tsunami. They closed down their operations after the looting started to take place," Saiuful told Xinhua on Thursday after taking cash from an ATM in BRI premises downtown Palu.
According to him, part of traditional markets have resumed operation over the last two days, selling vegetables, rice and eggs but with a bit higher prices compared to before the tsunami.
"Now we can eat normally again with rice and vegetables. I hope this situation would be improving in the near future, making our life back to normal again," Saiuful said.
Providing police and military personnel in banks was part of immediate steps applied by the provincial tsunami emergency response joint command (Satgasgab) under President Widodo"s order to speed up economic recovery in the tsunami-hit city.
The other related steps included assuring the security for resumption of office activities, improving the fuel distribution, supporting the work to fix electricity supply and convincing shop owners to reopen their businesses.
"Today we managed to prevent a looting attempt. For the gas stations, limitation to buy fuel for each purchase is still applied," head of Satgasgab Tiopan Aritonang said on Wednesday after after a coordination meeting.
"There was an idea to open the gas station 24 hours, the Pertamina has asked the military to fully support the idea."
He added that electricity supplies have reached 40 percent of pre-quake capacity, making parts of the city with power again.
The death toll from the disaster has soared to more than 1,400, according to the Indonesian disaster management agency.
Some 1,411 bodies have already been buried in a mass grave and public cemeteries.
Head of Satgasgab Aritonang said burial process in the mass grave has been conducted properly. The identified bodies have been returned to their families and buried in preferred cemeteries, he said on Wednesday.
Part of the families were willing to have bodies of their relatives buried in the mass grave due to their plight at present.
The provincial government has provided a mass grave for victims at the Poboya Indah cemetery in Palu"s eastern higher ground.custom silicone bracelets man city wristbands custom silicone wristbands make your own rubber bracelet wristband design