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Indonesia quake death toll tops 300 as strong aftershock causes more trauma

Indonesia quake death toll tops 300 as aftershock hits
Credit: Tatan Syuflana, AP
In this Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, photo, villagers injured in an earthquake are tended to inside a makeshift hospital in Tanjung, North Lombok, Indonesia.

The death toll in the devastating earthquake that hit the Indonesia island of Lombok rose to at least 319, an official said Thursday, as a powerful aftershock retraumatized the victims and caused even more damage.

The magnitude 5.9 aftershock - centered in the northwest of the island - caused panic, landslides and  further damaged buildings and caused more injuries. Indonesia’s geological agency said it would not cause a tsunami.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the aftershock had caused more “trauma.”

Videos showed rubble strewn across streets and clouds of dust enveloping buildings. Some people leaped from their vehicles amid stalled traffic in northern Lombok.

Sunday’s magnitude 7.0 quake left more than 156,000 people homeless, with many sleeping in makeshift shelters and out in the open. That temblor came a week after another earthquake killed at least 16 people.

Wiranto, the top security minister who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, told reporters Thursday that the death toll from Sunday’s quake had risen to 319. The announcement came after an inter-agency meeting was called to resolve differing figures from different agencies.

Grieving relatives were burying the dead and medics tended to the injured, many of whom had broken limbs.

The Red Cross said it was focusing relief efforts on an estimated 20,000 people who are yet to receive any assistance.