Indonesia raises earthquake death toll to 1,115
Indonesia has announced an increase in the earthquake death toll, declaring hundreds of people dead who had been listed as missing.
Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono said Wednesday that the search for 300 missing people has officially ended and that they have been declared dead.
The announcement places the death toll from September's quake at 1,115, according to Indonesian figures. The United Nations had previously estimated that the death toll in the country was at least 1,100 while Indonesia had placed it at about 715 in the days following the quake.
Many of those who had been classified as missing are believed to have been buried by landslides in West Sumatra caused by the 7.6-magnitude quake with an epicentre about 50 kilometres off the coast. That was followed by a 6.8-magnitude tremor the next day.
Aid operations continue in the country. Thousands of people have been left without shelter after the quake damaged about 20,000 buildings and destroyed at least 500 buildings in the coastal city of Padang.
Officials estimate that tens of millions of dollars in international aid has been sent to Indonesia to help with quake relief efforts.
Kardono said the disaster agency is urging the government to pay the families of the dead about $250 in compensation and the homeless an allowance of 50 cents per day for up to a month.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago, straddles continental plates and is prone to seismic activity along what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. The quake was along the same fault line that spawned the massive December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
With files from The Associated Press