World

Lombok quake leaves 156,000 homeless as death toll hits 131

8 August 2018 - 14   - 0

The death toll from a powerful earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok rose above 130 on Wednesday, as authorities appealed for food, clean water and medical help for some 156,000 people forced from their homes.

Many frightened, displaced villagers are staying under tents or tarpaulins dotted along roads or in parched rice fields, and makeshift medical facilities have been set up to treat the injured.

Evacuees in some encampments say they are running out of food, while others are suffering psychological trauma after the 6.9-magnitude quake, which struck just one week after another tremor surged through the island and killed 17.

"We still need long-term aid, even though we have already received help from various (regional) governments," national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Around 1,477 people were severely injured in the disaster, with tens of thousands of homes damaged, and authorities say the toll of 131 is likely to rise.

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

"The corpses are starting to smell and we believe some people buried are still alive -- that's why it's a critical time," Nugroho said.

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