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Indonesia quake deaths top 130, aid effort intensifies

BANGSAL, Indonesia — Aid began reaching isolated areas of the Indonesian island struggling after a powerful earthquake that killed more than 130 people, as rescuers intensified efforts Wednesday to find those buried in the rubble.

The national disaster agency stood by its latest death toll of 131 from Sunday’s quake despite other government agencies including the military reporting much higher figures. The governor of the province that includes Lombok, where the quake was centered, the military, the national search and rescue agency, and the regent of North Lombok issued different death tolls that ranged from 226 to 381.

But disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement that the information from those sources was incomplete and hadn’t been cross-checked for duplication. He has said several times that the number of deaths will increase.

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As the aid effort stepped up, volunteers and rescue personnel erected more temporary shelters for the tens of thousands left homeless on Lombok by the magnitude 7.0 quake.

Water, which has been in short supply due to a prolonged dry spell on the island, as well as food and medical supplies were being distributed from trucks. The military said it sent five planes carrying food, medicine, blankets, field tents, and water tankers.

Nearly 1,500 people have been hospitalized with serious injuries.

associated press