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Death toll jumps to 347 in 6.9 Indonesia natural disaster

09 August 2018

The quake killed more than 100 people in Lombok and injured hundreds of others, leaving thousands of locals homeless and tourists stranded.

Relief efforts had yet to reach parts of the island even before Thursday's aftershock, Indonesian authorities said, with hopes fading of finding further survivors among the wreckage.

A strong quake with a magnitude of 6.2 hit Indonesia's Lombok island on Thursday (Aug 9), causing some buildings to collapse, according to witnesses and the Southeast Asian nation's meteorology and geophysics agency. Panicked residents fled into the streets, witnesses said.

Indonesia's geological agency said the quake Thursday afternoon had a magnitude of 6.2 and was shallow, at a depth of 12 kilometers, centred in the northwest of the island.

But other government agencies are putting out conflicting information that suggests the actual figure could rise to as many as 381, while local media has reported 347 people have been killed.

The latest quake was felt strongly on the island and followed a 6.9 quake on Sunday that killed at least 164 people and damaged thousands of houses.

But disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement the information from those sources was incomplete and hadn't been cross-checked for duplication.

"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.

Tens of thousands of homes, businesses and mosques were levelled by the quake, which struck on Sunday.

The military said it sent five planes carrying food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers.

Authorities said all the tourists who wanted to be evacuated from three outlying holiday islands due to power blackouts and damage to hotels had left by boat, some 5,000 people in all. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 natural disaster off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

The quake was the second in a week to hit Lombok.

Death toll jumps to 347 in 6.9 Indonesia natural disaster