Indonesia earthquake toll reaches 310 as more bodies are found

The death toll from an earthquake that struck Indonesia’s Java island has risen to 310 after rescuers found more bodies under landslides, an official said.

At least 24 people are still missing.

In devastated towns in western Java, residents gathered near badly damaged mosques for Friday prayers.

Others held prayers along with rescuers between the tents at evacuation centers.

Bodies were recovered on Friday in two areas of the mountainous Cianjur district, where landslides triggered by Monday’s earthquake brought tonnes of mud, rocks, and broken trees, said Henri Alfiandi, chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency.

More than 1,400 rescuers have been searching through the rubble since the magnitude 5.6 quake, which injured more than 2,000 people.

The head of the National Disaster Management Agency, Suharyanto, who uses one name, said rescuers will search until rebuilding begins.

“We will do it up to the last person. There is no reduction whatsoever, in strength, enthusiasm, or the equipment,” Suharyanto said.

He said the distribution of food and other aid is improving and reaching more people in 110 evacuation locations.

The disaster agency said the earthquake damaged at least 56,000 houses and displaced at least 36,000 people.

Hundreds of public facilities were destroyed, including 363 schools.

An earthquake of that strength would not typically cause such serious damage, but Monday’s quake was shallow and shook a densely populated area lacking earthquake-resistant infrastructure.

Indonesia is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis because of its location on the arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin known as the Ring Of Fire.

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