Jakarta, Sep 15: The toll from a severe earthquake on Indonesia's Sumatra island last week has risen to 17 dead and 88 injured, a health ministry official said today.
The 8.4 magnitude quake, which struck off the coast of western Sumatra on Wednesday evening, has been followed by at least 40 big aftershocks and numerous tsunami warnings, which were subsequently withdrawn.
Rustam Pakaya, a senior health ministry official, told Reuters that as of late yesterday, a total of 17 people had died in Bengkulu and West Sumatra provinces, the two regions closest to the quake's epicentre, and 88 people had been injured.
The quake destroyed nearly 800 homes and damaged buildings and infrastructure in the area.
Many people are still sleeping out in the open, either because their homes have been destroyed or because they are too scared to return home in case of further quakes.
Pakaya said the health ministry has sent food, medicine and tents to the area.