Indonesian authorities scrambled on Monday to get help into quake-hit Sulawesi island as survivors streamed away from their ruined homes and accounts of devastation filtered out of remote areas, including the death of 34 children at a Christian camp.
The confirmed death toll of 844 was certain to rise as rescuers reached devastated outlying communities hit on Friday by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami waves as high as six metres (20 feet).
Dozens of people were reported to be trapped in the rubble of several hotels and a mall in the small city of Palu, 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Jakarta.
Hundreds more were feared buried in landslides that engulfed villages. Of particular concern is Donggala, a region of 300,000 people north of Palu and close to the epicentre of the quake, and two other districts, where communication had been cut off.
The four districts have a combined population of about 1.4 million. President Joko Widodo told reporters getting those people out was a priority.
"The evacuation is not finished yet. There are many places where the evacuation couldn't be done because of the absence of heavy equipment, but last night equipment started to arrive," Widodo said.
"We'll send as much food supplies as possible today with Hercules planes, directly from Jakarta," he said, referring to C-130 military transport aircraft.
The disaster agency said later more heavy equipment and personnel were needed to recover bodies.