Indonesia quake toll rises to 21 dead, 88 wounded

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JAKARTA, Sep 15 (Reuters) The toll from an earthquake on Indonesia's Sumatra island last week has risen to 21 dead and 88 injured, while more than 13,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, officials 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evening, has been followed by at least 40 big aftershocks and numerous tsunami warnings, which were subsequently withdrawn.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 today, a total of 21 people had died in Bengkulu and West Sumatra provinces, the two regions closest to the quake's epicentre, and 88 people had been injured.

Nearly 2,000 houses were destroyed, and a further 11,500 were damaged in the earthquake, according to Wisnu Wijaya, an official at Indonesia's national disaster management office, who added that the total cost of the damage was not yet known.

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.

REUTERS GT PM1945

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