Death toll in Indonesia’s Lombok island quakes surpasses 550

Jakarta, Aug 24: The death toll in the devastating earthquakes that hit Indonesia’s Lombok island between July 29 and August 19 was raised to 557 on Friday, authorities said.

More than 390,000 people remain displaced due to the quakes, while 76,765 buildings were damaged.

The National Agency for Disaster Management spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Twitter that the majority of the fatalities — 466 people — were from North Lombok municipality, the most affected area.

The rest of the victims were from West Lombok, 40; East Lombok, 31; Central Lombok, two; and nine in the provincial capital Mataram.

In addition, seven people were killed on neighbouring eastern Sumbawa island and two others on Bali island, Efe news reported.

The spokesperson said that the agency’s main focus was distributing humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands of people currently in displacement camps.

An Indonesian Armed Forces aircraft landed on the island on Friday morning with 100 assistance packages for families, 100 wheelchairs, 30,000 tents and tarpaulins, said Nugroho.

The camps are in need of clean water, medical treatment and materials for sheltering. Only helicopters and motorcycles are able to access the steepest and most remote areas of the island as landslides blocked some routes.

Lombok has suffered hundreds of aftershocks since a 6.4-magnitude earthquake shook the region on July 29, some of them as strong as a magnitude-5.9.

The most serious quake occurred on August 5 with a 6.9-magnitude, killing at least 460 people.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity where some 7,000 earthquakes, mostly moderate, are recorded each year.

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