Generous shoppers donated thousands of pounds to help those affected by a devastating natural disaster.

More than 1,700 people are now confirmed to have died from the earthquake and tsunami which hit Indonesia's Sulawesi island - but it's feared another 5,000 people are still missing.

Dorchester Casterbridge Rotary Club took to the streets of the county town last week to hold collections for Shelterbox, raising £3,350 over two days.

“Everyday the news from Palu in Indonesia has grown more harrowing,” said Gina Hofmann-Juviler, Club President.

“We were sure that the town would want the opportunity to support ShelterBox with their immediate and unique aid to yet another international disaster and yet again the response in Dorchester has been overwhelming. It has been truly humbling to see the generosity of so many people stopping to put money in our tins.”

Volunteers from the club worked in shifts for the two days and passers-by stopped and made donations from a few coins up to a hundred pounds each.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and food for those who have lost their homes due to natural disasters around the world.

Rotarian Vanessa Lucas, the club’s international chairman who organised the two days collecting, said: “The great advantage in Rotary project partnering with ShelterBox is that so many are volunteers; us with our tins in South Street and then the teams packing tents, water purification tablets, cooking utensils and countless invaluable items into the boxes in Truro. Every coin and note collected is put to the best use enabling the teams on the ground to assist the families in such desperate need. With equipment strategically stored round the globe, ShelterBox pride themselves for being one of the first vitally effective Aid Agencies on the ground after any disaster.”

A spokesman for ShelterBox added: “A highly-trained response team is on the ground in Indonesia working to help survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. The challenges are huge and we can’t give back what was lost, but we're determined to do everything we can to help the families who need us.”

The national disaster agency said the number of dead had climbed to 1,763, mostly in Palu.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said many more people could be buried, especially in the Palu neighbourhoods of Petobo and Balaroa, where more than 3,000 homes were damaged or sucked into deep mud when the September 28 quake caused loose soil to liquefy.

Mr Nugroho said efforts to retrieve decomposed bodies in deep, soft mud were getting more difficult and that some people may have fled or been rescued and evacuated.

More than 8,000 either injured or vulnerable residents have been flown or shipped out of Palu, while others could have left by land, he said.