Indonesia hit by powerful aftershock days after 319 died in quake

Sumati has since returned to her home to survey the damage- the roof has partially collapsed and piles of debris lay everywhere

Sumati has since returned to her home to survey the damage- the roof has partially collapsed and piles of debris lay everywhere

A strong aftershock hit Indonesia's Lombok island on Thursday. four days after it was struck by a deadly quake of magnitude 6-point-9.

Indonesia's top security minister, Wiranto, says the death toll from last Sunday's quake on the island of Lombok has climbed to 319.

Tens of thousands of homes, businesses and mosques were levelled by the quake, which struck on Sunday as evening prayers were being said across the Muslim-majority island.

U.S. quake monitors said the latest aftershock had a magnitude of 5.9.

Aid is beginning to reach the northern parts of the island, which were among the worst hit by the quake, but witnesses on the ground in Kayangan said hundreds of people - many young children and elderly - are still waiting for help to reach their area.

Reuters has reported collapsed buildings and widespread damage, likely compounding fresh damage from quakes which have already devastated the island this month.

He said the agency has sent 20 water trucks to five remote areas, including one village of about 1,200 households.

Sumiati returned to her home to survey the damage and found the roof partially collapsed

Other evacuees said they were subsisting on a diet of instant noodles and needed clean water and bedding.

"Our latest update is that 319 people died", said Indonesia's chief security minister Wiranto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, adding that rescue efforts were ongoing and complicated by aftershocks.

"Evacuees and people ran out of houses when they felt the strong shake of the 6.2 magnitude quake".

"In some villages we visited the destruction was nearly 100 percent, all houses collapsed, roads are cracked and bridges were broken", said Arifin Muhammad Hadi, a spokesman for the Indonesian Red Cross. 'There was no way to get her out'. "It's hard to get used to", he said.

Emergency personnel raced to evacuate tourists from the three small islands, famous for their white sandy beaches and clear waters, which are near the epicenter of the quake on Lombok.

Lying on the fault lines in the Pacific Basin, Indonesia is a hotspot for earthquakes.

Wiranto said the government will develop a plan to rebuild communities on Lombok, which like its more famous neighbour Bali is a popular tourist destination with powder-white beaches, mountains and a lush interior. An estimated 230,000 people died after a magnitude 9.1 natural disaster triggered a tsunami off the coast of Sumatra in December 2004.

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