Death Toll from Indonesia Earthquake Rises to 131

Aid began reaching isolated areas of the Indonesian island struggling after an earthquake killed at least 131 people as rescuers intensified efforts Wednesday to find those buried in the rubble.

Volunteers and rescue personnel erected more temporary shelters for the tens of thousands left homeless on Lombok by the magnitude 7.0 quake on Sunday evening.

The Reuters news agency reports officials haven’t given up hope of finding more survivors. “We don’t know for sure how many people are alive under the rubble,” Reuters quotes Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) as telling reporters in Jakarta. “There are reports … that there are people buried alive, it is a critical time for immediate evacuation,” he said.

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 five planes carrying food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers left Jakarta for the island early Wednesday.

Still, government assistance was barely a trickle in the west Lombok village of Kekait where Zulas Triani, an elementary school teacher who was sharing a tent with 30 others, said they had received only a basket with three noodle packets, five eggs and a small ration of water.

“My house was flattened. We are all frustrated to live like this – in a tent without certainty. Where should we go if we have no house anymore, nowhere to live?” said the mother of 15- and 9-year-old girls.

“I don’t know how to rebuild on my own. We’re all relying on the government to help. I do hope the government can help,” she said.

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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press