Indonesia natural disaster: Death toll tops 100 as thousands wait for aid

REUTERS  Beawiharta

Aid began reaching isolated areas of the Indonesian island struggling after an quake killed at least 131 people as rescuers intensified efforts Wednesday to find those buried in the rubble.

More than 100 people have been confirmed dead after a 6.9 magnitude quake hit Indonesia's islands of Lombok and Bali on Sunday.

More than 20 000 people are believed to have been made homeless on Lombok‚ with 236 severely injured‚ and authorities have appealed for more medical personnel and basic supplies.

Crews using heavy equipment to search a collapsed mosque in northern Lombok found three bodies but also managed to pull one man alive from the twisted wreckage.

Damage in the north of Lombok was "massive", Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency in the area, told a news conference, as reported by the AP, that also noted the damage included collapsed bridges, blackouts and roads blocked by debris.

The agency said the figure was expected to rise. More than 156,000 people were displaced by the quake. "Gili Air has run out of food and water so they have come to us", she told Reuters in a text, then messaging later that she had been taken on a boat to the main island and would head from there to Bali.

An evacuation is now underway on surrounding islands, affecting locals and thousands of tourists.

Worldwide charity Oxfam said drinking water was scarce because of a recent spell of extremely dry weather in Lombok.

Videos showed screaming people running in panic from a shopping mall and a neighborhood in Bali where parked vehicles swayed.

Many farmers were reluctant to move far from their damaged homes and leave precious livestock behind, he added.

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"We are cutting short our holiday because I can't walk and we're just not in the mood anymore", said the 26-year-old, sitting on a trolley at the airport with his leg bandaged.

"We extend our sympathy in this moment of pains to the people and the government of Indonesia, we wish you strength and fortitude at this hour of pains", he said.

Priva Bell, the Indonesia Response Team Coordinator at Mercy Corps, told Euronews: "We already know that many people have lost access to water, and are in need of shelter".

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was dining at a restaurant on the 12th floor of a Lombok hotel when the quake struck.

The north of Lombok has been devastated by the magnitude 7.0 quake and rescuers are struggling to reach all the affected areas.

He added 80 percent of buildings had been damaged or destroyed.

Lombok, which is located east of Bali and makes up part of the Lesser Sunda Island chain, is a popular tourist destination known for mountains, beaches and surf.

Lombok airport's general manager said airlines had laid on extra flights and his staff had been providing blankets and snacks.

The family were around 60 miles from the epicentre when the natural disaster hit, leaving at least 98 people dead. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

The country sits on the Ring of Fire, a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.

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