Indonesia earthquake toll reaches 131, thousands await aid

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Jakarta, Aug 8 (IANS) Indonesian authorities on Wednesday raised to 131 the death toll in the magnitude-6.9 earthquake that shook the island of Lombok, where thousands still await food, water and shelter.

The spokesperson for the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a press conference that another 1,467 people were admitted to hospitals owing to the injuries they sustained in the Sunday earthquake.

The number of people displaced rose to 156,000, Efe news reported.

Of the fatalities, 78 were in northern Lombok, where around 42,000 houses and buildings collapsed. Emergency services were still working in the area to locate survivors and recover bodies.

The remaining casualties were reported in western Lombok (24), in the east (19), in Mataram — the largest city on the island (6) — in the centre (2) and on the neighbouring island of Bali (2).

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On the road to the north Lombok, where around 84,000 people have been displaced, locals were asking for money to help the victims amid collapsed buildings.

Dozens of injured people were being treated in tents temporarily set up in the northwest of the island, as the centre was damaged by the quake.

Aid reached many of the survivors, but there was still a lack of food, water and tents in areas difficult to access.

Lombok is known for Mount Rinjani volcano and comprises about 4,500 square kilometres of land area. It is located east of the popular tourist destination island of Bali.

A week earlier, on July 29, another magnitude-6.4 earthquake hit Lombok and left 16 people dead, 355 injured and 1,500 buildings destroyed.

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Indonesia is situated within the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area known for heavy seismic and volcanic activity, which cause about 7,000 tremors a year, mostly of moderate intensity.

–IANS

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