The Latest: Indonesia earthquake death toll rises to 102

AP News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2016 11:24 PM
The Latest: Indonesia earthquake death toll rises to 102

MEUREUDU, Indonesia (AP) — The Latest on a magnitude 6.5 earthquake in Indonesia's Aceh province (all times local):

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11:10 a.m.

A spokesman for Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency says the death toll from Wednesday's earthquake has risen to 102, spread across three districts in northern Aceh but concentrated in Pidie Jaya near the epicenter.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said at a press conference Thursday that 136 people are severely injured and more than 600 have light injuries.

The death toll "probably will increase," he says, despite the agency only counting one person as officially missing. "A joint rescue team is still continuing to search for the victims."

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10:15 a.m.

Hajj Yusri Abdullah, owner of a shop in Meureudu town's crumpled market, says he isn't holding out much hope survivors will be found as backhoes and rescuers, worked on the rubble.

He says nearly two dozen bodies were pulled from the market debris on Wednesday including a group of eight made up of a newlywed couple and family members holding an ornate celebration known as Antar Dara Baro.

Local TV reported that about 40 shop houses in the market collapsed.

Nearly 100 people died in the shallow and powerful quake that struck northeast Sumatra before dawn on Wednesday.

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8:00 p.m.

Search and rescue efforts after Indonesia's earthquake are being hampered by power blackouts and rain, but officials hope they can continue at night to some extent.

Aiyub Abbas, chief of Pidie Jaya district which took the brunt of the earthquake, says efforts are focusing on locations where victims are believed to be trapped. "The search this night depends on the location and the weather conditions," he says.

The army chief in Aceh province has said the quake killed 97 people and only four have been pulled from the rubble alive.

A disaster mitigation agency official says there are about 10 locations where searchers believe people are buried.

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7:25 p.m.

The Indonesian Red Cross says it's mobilizing aid for earthquake survivors from Aceh's provincial capital, Banda Aceh, and the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, with an initial priority on clean water and sanitation.

The charity's head of disaster management, Arifin Hadi, says five water trucks have already been sent into areas worst hit by the quake, where it has 100 people on the ground. It has dispatched other aid from Banda Aceh such as hygiene kits, tarpaulins and jerry cans and has also sent body bags.

Arifin says it will send more from its Jakarta warehouse, including 500 family assistance kits, 1,000 blankets and 1,000 tarpaulins.

He says possible health risks in the quake area are still being assessed.

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5 p.m.

The director of the hospital in Pidie Jaya, the district that has taken the brunt of the quake damage, says the facility is overwhelmed with the numbers of injured.

Muhammad Reza Faisal says many people are being treated in tents pitched on the grounds of the hospital, which was damaged in Wednesday's shallow magnitude 6.5 quake.

He says five of the quake victims died at the hospital. The total death has risen to 97.

Faisal says: "We are cooperating with the local army and police who lent us stretchers for the victims."

The national disaster mitigation agency says several hundred people have been injured.

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4 p.m.

The army chief in Indonesia's Aceh province says the death toll in Wednesday's earthquake has jumped to 97 from 54 as rescuers pull more bodies from the rubble.

Maj. Gen. Tatang Sulaiman says in a live television interview that four people were pulled from the rubble alive. Another four or five are known to be buried, but he didn't say if they are dead or alive.

He says: "Hopefully we would be able to finish the evacuation from the rubble before sunset."

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2:30 p.m.

Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says several thousand rescuers are being deployed to quake hit areas in Aceh including hundreds of soldiers.

He told a press conference that 148 million Indonesians, or more than half its population, live in quake-prone areas.

Separately, the International Organization for Migration says it has sent a two-person assessment team to quake hit areas of Aceh.

"They'll be our eyes and ears on the ground and be able to give us a much clearer picture of what the needs are," says IOM disaster preparedness project manager Peter Kern.

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2 p.m.

Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says the death toll from the Aceh earthquake, currently at 54, could continue to rise as people are believed trapped in the debris of collapsed buildings.

He tells a news conference there is extensive damage to buildings with more than 200 shop houses and dwellings either severely damaged or flattened. Some 14 mosques collapsed and one hospital was damaged.

He says classes for about 10,000 students are disrupted due to the quake which damaged Islamic boarding schools.

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1:05 p.m.

The army chief in Indonesia's Aceh province says 54 people have died in the quake that struck early Wednesday, more than doubling the death toll.

Maj. Gen. Tatang Sulaiman says 52 have died in Pidie Jaya, the district closest to the epicenter of the undersea quake. Another two people died in neighboring Bireuen district.

The national disaster mitigation agency says 78 people have suffered serious injuries from the magnitude 6.5 quake.

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12:10 p.m.

A woman in the worst-hit district near the epicenter of Indonesia's earthquake says she fled with her husband and children to a nearby hill after the quake jolted the family awake early Wednesday. They stayed there for several hours until authorities reassured them there was no tsunami risk.

Seaside resident Fitri Abidin in Pidie Jaya district says: "It terrified me. I was having difficulty breathing or walking."

She says her husband grabbed hold of her and carried her out of the house as their children were crying.

She says: "We ran to a nearby hill, because our house is near a beach. We were afraid a tsunami can come at any time."

The family's house didn't collapse but the homes of some neighbors did. Abidin is traumatized because she believes three friends were buried in building collapses.

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10:50 a.m.

The chief of the district nearest the epicenter of a shallow 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Indonesia's Aceh province early Wednesday says 25 people have been killed in that district alone.

Pidie Jaya district chief Aiyub Abbas also says hundreds of people in the district have been injured and dozens of buildings collapsed.

Abbas says there is an urgent need for excavation equipment to move heavy debris and emergency supplies.

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10:40 a.m.

A strong undersea earthquake that rocked Indonesia's Aceh province early Wednesday has killed at least 20 people and collapsed buildings.

Indonesia's TVOne station, citing the acting governor of Aceh, Soedarmo, says 20 people have died.

A frantic rescue effort is underway for survivors in districts nearest the epicenter.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the shallow 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck at 5:03 a.m. Wednesday was centered about 10 kilometers (6 miles) north off Reuleut, a town in northern Aceh, at a depth of 17 kilometers (11 miles).

There was no risk of a tsunami, according to Indonesian authorities.