Friday 20 September 2019

'We've found 99pc of victims' Indonesian earthquake search and rescue winds down

A police officer carries a child as he helps a woman leave a covered market, after an aftershock was felt, following this week's strong earthquake in Meureudu, (Photo: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
A police officer carries a child as he helps a woman leave a covered market, after an aftershock was felt, following this week's strong earthquake in Meureudu, (Photo: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
A man and a boy look at the damage to buildings following this week's strong earthquake in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya, Aceh province, Indonesia (Photo: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
People walk past damaged buildings near the market following this week's strong earthquake in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya, Aceh province, Indonesia (Photo: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
Indonesian soldiers help to secure an area where rescue and salvage operations take place following this week's strong earthquake in Meureudu Indonesia (Photo: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
A man looks at the damage to buildings following this week's strong earthquake in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya, Aceh province, Indonesia (Photo: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)

Tommy Ardiansyah and Djohan Widjaya

 Indonesian officials said on Friday search and rescue operations were nearing an end three days after a powerful earthquake hit the northern province of Aceh, killing 100 people and leaving thousands homeless.

Wednesday's 6.5 magnitude earthquake, which toppled dozens of buildings and injured hundreds of people, was the worst disaster to hit the region since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

"We believe we have found 99 percent of the victims," said Sutopo Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster management agency.

The agency revised the death toll down to 100 from 102.

Hundreds of people in Aceh's Pidie Jaya regency held Friday prayers outside mosques that had been reduced to rubble.

Many residents of the town of 140,000 have been sleeping in shelters and relief workers have been handing out food, water, and blankets.

Read more: Aid groups descend on Indonesia quake zone

President Joko Widodo visited survivors, including many getting treatment for broken bones in hospitals and tent clinics.

The province of Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra island, has declared a two-week state of emergency and the central government has pledged aid for recovery efforts.

A December 26, 2004, earthquake and tsunami killed more than 120,000 people in Aceh.

In all, the 2004 tsunami killed 226,000 people along Indian Ocean shorelines.

Reuters

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