Indonesia minister says quake deaths pass 300

Indonesia minister says quake deaths pass 300

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 of Lombok, which bore the brunt of the quake.

But national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told the BBC that only 259 deaths had been verified.

The death toll from the 6.9-magnitude quake has risen to 347, and is expected to be higher once all the bodies can be counted, according to the state-run Antara news agency. An interagency meeting will be held Friday to compare information, Nugroho said.

A humanitarian crisis looms in Lombok, where thousands are in desperate need of clean water, food, medicine, and shelter. Tens of thousands are now sleeping out in the open or in the ruins of their homes.

'People are always saying they need water and tarps, ' he said, adding they were also looking for people with untreated injuries.

"My house was flattened". "We are still scared to go into the house". "The grandson tried to help the grandmother to get out but he pushed too hard", she said. At least 40,000 homes were destroyed on Sunday and more than 150,000 people are homeless.

"The shelters people have made for themselves are not safe or secure".

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

Indonesia Earthquake
A woman carries her child at a temporary shelter

Shivaya Reo, mother of Natalie Jameson, says her daughter and fiancee had finally made it to safety in Bali.

The aftershock follows a series of quakes which have hit Indonesia over the past two weeks.

Indonesia's disaster agency says the death toll from the quake that shook Lombok island Sunday evening has risen to 131.

Lombok is a roughly 4,500 sq km (1,700 sq miles) island east of the slightly larger island of Bali.

Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Lying on the fault lines in the Pacific Basin, Indonesia is a hotspot for earthquakes.

There have been 355 aftershocks since the last natural disaster happened on Sunday, which killed at least 131 people.

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