Home English News Indonesia’s quake toll revised to 100 as president pledges rebuilding

Indonesia’s quake toll revised to 100 as president pledges rebuilding

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Jakarta  – The death toll from an earthquake that devastated parts of Indonesia’s Aceh province has been revised to 100 from 102, an official said Friday.

The discrepancy in the death toll was caused by some bodies being counted twice, said National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the largest hospital in Pidie district, in the town of Sigli, where quake victims were being treated.

Local television showed Joko talking to patients, who were hooked to intravenous drips.

Later he pledged to rebuild damaged homes and mosques.

“I’ve seen the condition of the mosques and we will rebuild them,” he was quoted as saying by Antara news agency after touring an area devastated by the quake.

“We’ll start working together tomorrow.”

Wednesday’s quake injured nearly 800 people, including 136 seriously, according to the National Disaster Management Agency. One person was listed as missing.

More than 2,000 homes were heavily damaged and more than 120 shops collapsed, the agency said.

indonesia-acheh-earthquake

An excavator from Search and Rescue (SAR) searches for victims of the earthquake that hit in the Pidie Jaya district, Aceh, Indonesia, December 8, 2016. A powerful and shallow underland quake hit western Indonesia’s Aceh province on Wednesday. (Credit Image: © Gatha Ginting/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire)

Meanwhile, the number of displaced reached more than 21,000 on Friday as more people sought temporary shelter in mosques and other buildings, it said.

“The search operation is 99 per cent completed and we’ve begun clearing the rubble,” said Aiyub Abbas, the district head of Pidie Jaya, the area hit hardest by the quake.

“We are now focusing our efforts on building shelters for the displaced and caring for the injured victims,” he told dpa.

The quake struck before dawn, with the epicentre 18 kilometres north-east of Pidie Jaya at a depth of 10 kilometres.

Many residents had just risen to perform Islamic morning prayers when the quake struck.

A muezzin recounted how he escaped a collapsing mosque unscathed just as he was about to recite a call to prayer.

“Everything was shaking very strongly,” Abdul Hanan was quoted by Detik.com news portal.

“Then the columns started to buckle and I was trapped,” he said. “I found a small opening and got out.”

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area noted for frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

A magnitude-9.1 earthquake off Sumatra island on December 26, 2004, spawned the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 11 countries, including about 180,000 in Aceh province alone.

– dpa

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