Many killed in Indonesia (Image courtesy AFP

At least 800 people have died following Indonesia’s quake and tsunami disaster with reports that the number of those killed could rise.

“The casualties will keep increasing,” said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, whose agency announced the jump in the toll from 420 earlier.

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“Today we will start the mass burial of victims, to avoid the spread of disease.”

It was learned that rescuers on Sulawesi island raced against the clock to save those still trapped in the rubble.

Reports say up to 60 people are feared to be underneath one Palu hotel alone and rescuers, according to AFP, said they heard voices and a child’s cries from under the rubble.

Desperate survivors, now facing a third straight night sleeping outdoors, turned to looting shops for basics like food, water and fuel as police looked on, unwilling or unable to intervene.

“Record everything taken, inventorise it. We will pay for it all,” said security minister Wiranto.

According to AFP, one survivor, Adi, was hugging his wife by the beach when the tsunami struck on Friday. Like countless others he has no idea where she is now, or whether she is alive.

“When the wave came, I lost her,” he said. “I was carried about 50 metres. I couldn’t hold anything. The water was spinning me around,” he said.

“This morning I went back to the beach, I found my motorbike and my wife’s wallet.”