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Quake damage to Indonesia's Lombok exceeds $342 million as deaths top 400

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Quake damage to Indonesia's Lombok exceeds $342 million as deaths top 400
FILE PHOTO: Residents pull down an earthquake damaged house in Kayangan, North Lombok, Indonesia August 12, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Zabur Karuru/ via REUTERS   -   Copyright  ANTARA FOTO(Reuters)
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JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s holiday island of Lombok suffered damage running into more than 5 trillion rupiah (268.61 million pounds)from last week’s huge earthquake, authorities said on Monday, as the death toll climbed to more than 430.

More than 350,000 people fled their homes after the 6.9-magnitude quake to shelter in government-provided tents or makeshift structures in open fields. Authorities say aid is slow in getting to some of the hardest-hit areas as they are remote.

“The damage and losses are huge,” Sutopo Nugroho, the spokesman of Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said in a statement.

“It will take trillions of rupiah…and a lot of time to heal the lives of the people and the economy of Nusa Tenggara Barat,” he said, referring to the province home to Lombok.

Residential homes and public infrastructure suffered the bulk of the damage, he added.

On Monday, President Joko Widodo visited the island, which lies just east of Bali, the southeast Asian country’s most famous tourist destination, for the second time since a slightly smaller quake on July 29.

He has called for search operations and relief efforts to be stepped up.

“I have ordered that the evacuation of victims who have not yet been found be made a priority,” Widodo said in a statement at the weekend.

($1=14,600.0000 rupiah)

(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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