Indonesia Quake : Death toll hits 131

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Asianbangla Desk : The death toll from a shallow 6.9-magnitude earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has risen above 130, officials said yesterday, with some 156,000 forced from their homes. AFP

The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake triggered panic among locals and tourists on Lombok on Sunday, just a week after another tremor surged through the holiday island and killed 17.

Around 1,477 people have been severely injured in the latest quake, with tens of thousands of homes damaged, and authorities have appealed for more medical personnel and basic supplies.

Workers with heavy machinery resumed searching through the rubble of homes, schools and mosques yesterday, with hope of finding any survivors fading.

Muhammad Zainul Majdi, the governor of West Nusa Tenggara province which covers Lombok, said there was a dire need for medical staff, food and medicine in the worst-hit areas.

Hundreds of bloodied and bandaged victims have been treated outside damaged hospitals in the main city of Mataram and other badly affected areas.

The Indonesian Red Cross said it had set up 10 mobile clinics in the north of the island and a field hospital had been established near an evacuation centre catering to more than 500 people in the village of Tanjung.

Kurniawan Eko Wibowo, a doctor at the field hospital, said most patients were suffering broken bones and head injuries.

Across much of the island, once-bustling villages have been turned into virtual ghost towns.

“In some villages we visited the destruction was almost 100 percent, all houses collapsed, roads are cracked and bridges were broken,” said Arifin Muhammad Hadi, a spokesman for the Indonesian Red Cross.

The quake struck as evening prayers were being said across the Muslim-majority island and there are fears that one collapsed mosque in north Lombok had been filled with worshippers.

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