Strong aftershock hits Indonesia's Lombok Island as death toll rises to 347

Gili islands The three tiny islands are located just off the coast of Lombok

Members of an Indonesian search and rescue team look for victim of the recent quake in Tanjung on Lombok island on August 9, 2018.

Another major natural disaster just hit the tourist island of Lombok in Indonesia, just four days after a massive magnitude-6.9 quake struck Lombok island on Sunday evening.

Rescue teams search for survivors following the 6.9 magnitude quake which hit Lombok this month.

The official death toll from the initial natural disaster stood at 321 as of Friday, according to Indonesia's mitigation agency (BNPB).

Some villages had "completely collapsed", said a Red Cross official in Lombok, Christopher Rassi. "Some buildings were damaged further because of this".

BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said all the numbers could be correct since it was based on on-the-field observations.

Almost 2,500 people have been hospitalized with serious injuries and more than 156,000 people are displaced due to the extensive damage to homes.

Rescue workers struggling to remove concrete slabs, rubble and debris with little mechanised equipment are reporting "the smell of death" emanating from beneath some collapsed buildings, as survivors and local authorities also attempt to bury the dead accordance with Islamic custom; within 24-hours of death.

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Local authorities, worldwide relief groups and the central government have begun organising aid, but shattered roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north of Lombok, which bore the brunt of the quake. "He asked me for help, but I couldn't help him, we just ran to help ourselves", Johriah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP tearfully.

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While other government agencies have reported the death toll to have risen to 347, the national disaster agency has stood by its toll of 131.

Before that, another strong quake on July 29 had already shaken Lombok, killing 16 people.

Authorities and global relief groups have begun organising aid, but badly damaged roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north of Lombok, which bore the brunt of the quake.

"The quakes have left hospitals crowded with around 1,500 injured, and thousands of displaced are living in temporary shelters, or in the rubble of homes", he says.

He says, "People are always saying they need water and tarps". Crews using heavy equipment to search a collapsed mosque in northern Lombok found three bodies but also managed to pull one man alive from the twisted wreckage.

Thousands of tourists have been evacuated from Lombok and the Gili Islands.

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