Death toll rises to 131 in Indonesian quake

Collapsed buildings and bridges, impassable roads littered with debris - it's been an impossible task for rescuers in the Indonesian natural disaster. The death toll is expected to rise.

The death toll from last weekend's powerful quake on Indonesia's Lombok island rose to 131 on Wednesday as rescuers found more people crushed under collapsed buildings, though some still held out hope of finding survivors.

The death toll from a shallow 6.9-magnitude natural disaster on the Indonesian island of Lombok has risen above 130, officials said Wednesday, with some 156,000 forced from their homes.

He added 80 percent of buildings had been damaged or destroyed.

A young woman has been pulled from rubble as rescuers in Lombok in Indonesia continue to search for survivors following a devastating quake.

Injured victims rest at a makeshift hospital in Pemenang, the day after a 6.9 magnitude quake struck the area.

Desi Fitriana, who was attending a conference in the island's main city of Mataram, said she had to evacuate the hotel where she had stayed since Friday and spent last night sleeping on the floors of Lombok airport. "The customers managed to escape, but he himself didn't", Sahril said. "We're still traumatized by the previous quake a few days ago, which was also quite large".

Hundreds of tourists slept at Lombok Airport waiting for the first chance to leave.

"And then the roof started falling down on us, rocks and rubble and then just everyone running to get away", he said.

Bali has also sustained damage, where two were confirmed dead after tremors struck. On Lombok, soldiers and other rescuers carried the injured on stretchers and carpets.

Rescuers dug through the rubble of a mosque on Wednesday where an unknown number of people were suspected buried.

The Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) said more than 120 aftershocks were recorded after the quake. "That's where the epicentre was; we wanted to go to Bali". "Many of us screamed hysterically".

"They have not been touched by any assistance", Mr Nguroho said.

"There has been no help at all here", said 36-year-old Multazam, who was staying with hundreds of others under tarpaulins on a dry paddy field outside West Pemenang village.

The scuba instructors, known as Fee and OJ by friends and locals, evacuated the island and headed to Bali yesterday after a magnitude 7.0 quake struck Lombok island on Sunday night.

"It was quite frantic cos some of the locals were literally jumping on to the boats", British tourist James Kelsall said. "We spoke to a lot of them and they were panicking about their family in Lombok". Tens of thousands were left homeless when the ground shook for the second time in two weeks. The islands, famous for their white sandy beaches and clear waters, are located near the epicenter.

Through what she says was "sheer luck", the family heard that two boats would be taking people off the island Monday morning, and chose to take a chance.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire, " an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Ocean Basin.

But it took an inadvertent turn in Indonesia following a deadly, 6.9 magnitude natural disaster on the island of Lombok on Sunday.

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"We can't live in our house again, but things can be rebuilt, and stuff can be replaced". "But people out in the villages or elsewhere haven't been so lucky, unfortunately".

Sanisah and her extended family group of about 10 people had had three bags of rice to share that day. Neighbours heard cries for help from the mangled concrete and alerted rescuers, who took four hours to extract her.

Vanessa Coleman