Death toll rises to 259 from Sunday's quake in Indonesia's Lombok island


The death toll from a powerful quake that struck the Indonesian island of Lombok is climbing, and could reach 400, according to an independent Indonesian news service.

Displaced residents living in shelters rushed out of their temporary homes, fearing more destruction to structures already weakened from the previous two quakes.

The fresh seismic event followed the 6.9 magnitude quake on Sunday that flattened homes and stranded thousands of people on Lombok's northern coast and the nearby Gili Islands.

A strong aftershock struck Indonesia's Lombok today, causing panic among evacuees already traumatised by a devastating quake that killed more than 160 on the holiday island four days earlier.

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Officials said about three-quarters of Lombok's rural north had been without electricity since Sunday, although power had since been restored in most areas. While other government agencies have reported the death toll to have risen to 347, the national disaster agency has stood by its toll of 131.

In Kopang Daya village in the hard-hit Tanjung district of north Lombok, a distraught family was burying their 13-year-old daughter who was struck by a collapsing wall and then trampled when Sunday's quake caused a stampede at her Islamic boarding school.

Makeshift medical facilities have been set up to treat the injured. "There have been 355 aftershocks since Sunday", national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. Some buildings were damaged further because of this quake'. Local government agencies and rescue agencies have issued different estimates, which one agency said could be as high as 381.

He says, "People are always saying they need water and tarps".

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The Red Cross previously said aid was struggling to reach the northern parts of the island due to debris from the quake and the ongoing risk of landslides. He also said that search and rescue operations were ongoing but things weren't as smooth and they would like as the aftershocks added to the woes.

"We still have supplies for the next few days, but I'm not sure about after that", Billa Rabbani, a spokeswoman from the Peduli Anak orphanage, told AFP.

Kurniawan Eko Wibowo, a doctor at the field hospital, said most patients had broken bones and head injuries. "Overnight the children are cold, they don't have blankets or proper clothing to keep warm", said Hana Yulia, an emergency response worker from the group now in Lombok.

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