Official death toll still 131 in Indonesia quake

11 August, 2018, 20:33 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Bikes are seen covered in debris at a mall in Bali's capital Denpasar

Famous English footballer David Beckham and his family have been caught up in the powerful quake which has hit the island of Lombok in Indonesia killing at least 142 people.

A magnitude 6.4 natural disaster on July 29 killed 16 people and cracked and weakened many structures, amplifying the damage that occurred in Sunday's quake.

Almost 1,500 people have been hospitalized with serious injuries and more than 156,000 have been displaced due to the extensive damage to thousands of homes.

Indonesia's national disaster agency is insisting the death toll from the Lombok quake still stands at 131 after other government agencies including the military gave much higher figures.

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

"There´s a massive rush of people wanting to get out of Lombok because of unfounded rumours, such as of a tsunami", Muhammad Faozal, the head of the tourism agency in West Nusa Tenggara province, told AFP. "Some paramedics have to be at the shelters, some need to be mobile", Majdi told AFP.

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Still, government assistance was barely a trickle in the west Lombok village of Kekait where Zulas Triani, an elementary school teacher who was sharing a tent with 30 others, said they had received only a basket with three noodle packets, five eggs and a small ration of water.

Authorities said all the tourists who wanted to be evacuated from three outlying vacation islands due to power blackouts and damage to hotels had left by boat, some 5,000 people in all.

Across much of the island, once-bustling villages have been turned into virtual ghost towns, with residents sleeping out in the open - scared to stay near their shattered homes amid hundreds of aftershocks. "More than 70,000 people have been evacuated and tens of thousands of houses have collapsed", Nugroho added.

Makeshift encampments have popped up on the side of roads and rice fields, with many farmers reluctant to move far from their damaged homes and leave precious livestock behind.

Local authorities, worldwide relief groups and the central government have begun organising aid, but shattered roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north and east of Lombok, which was hardest hit.

But some evacuees have complained of being ignored or of experiencing long delays for supplies to arrive at shelters. It said clean drinking water was scarce because of a recent spell of extremely dry weather in Lombok.

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A woman's body was recovered from the rubble of a collapsed mosque on Wednesday morning in Bangsal district in the north of the island.

Authorities said they feared the mosque - now reduced to a pile of concrete and metal bars, its towering green dome folded in on itself - had been filled with worshippers.

Video shot by a soldier shows rescuers shouting "Thank God" as a man is pulled from a space under the mosque's flattened roof sometime on Monday and he staggers away from the ruins supported by soldiers.

"We estimate there are still more victims because we found many sandals in front of the mosque", Nugroho said yesterday.

Among other major buildings to collapse were a health clinic, government offices and other public facilities, he said. He made his way to the airport, where hundreds of holidaymakers slept on the floor overnight awaiting flights out.

"Most foreign tourists have been evacuated", Yusuf Latif, national search and rescue team spokesman, told AFP.

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