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Indonesia quake death toll reaches 40
July 5, 2013, 2:23 pm


A rescuer uses a rope to cross a swollen river to search for victims of a landslide triggered by the earthquake [AP]

The death toll from Tuesday’s earthquake in central Indonesia’s Aceh region has continued to rise as hundreds of police officers and volunteers mount rescue operations.

“As of 2pm (7am GMT) today the total number of those perished in the earthquake has increased to 40 following the discovery of five more bodies this morning,” said senior police officer Anang R, head of the search and rescue operation.

Over 275 injuries have been reported and seven individuals are still missing from the village of Serampah.

Anang added that all identifiable victims have been buried by their families, and a number of unclaimed bodies have been placed in hospitals for further identification.

Six-hundred police officers and 80 professional rescuers have been deployed since the earthquake struck, said the police official.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency earlier said that the 6.1 magnitude earthquake had damaged 4,292 houses.

Most of the buildings in Blang Mancung village – one of the worst-hit areas – were flattened by the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, leaving the villagers to take refuge in tents set up outside their houses.

A large centre established by regional governments on a football pitch is also providing shelter to more than 580 people left homeless.

Seismic and volcanic activity in Indonesia is among the world’s highest.

A magnitude 9.1 earthquake in 2004 with an epicentre off the coast of Indonesia resulted in a tsunami that killed over 230,000 people.

Source: Agencies