The death toll in the powerful 6.5 magnitude earthquake in Aceh, Indonesia, has touched 102, and the figure is likely to rise further, Indonesian authorities said on Thursday, 8 December. Amid aftershocks, President Joko Widodo is scheduled to visit the quake-hit Pidie Jaya regency in Sumatra to personally inspect the havoc.
Basarnas, Indonesia's national search and rescue agency, said 85 of the 102 victims have been identified. As many as 14 mosques were also damaged in the earthquake that hit the Indonesian province on Wednesday (7 December) morning, the agency added.
The agency said the search and rescue operation will continue for seven more days, which is regarded as the "golden period" when there are high chances of pulling out people alive from the rubble. No international help will be required for the ongoing rescue operation, Channel News Asia quoted the national body as saying. Close to 2,000 soldiers and police personnel are assisting the survivors in the worst-hit areas.
Meanwhile, a source told The Straits Times that Widodo is expected to travel to Pidie Jaya regency on Thursday after attending an international democracy forum in Bali. He will meet the survivors of the quake and take stock of the situation.
Close to 300 homes have been destroyed in the quake rendering hundreds homeless. With nearly 500 people injured, the hospitals are struggling hard to attend to the victims. There is also an urgent need for food and fresh clothes for the survivors who are taking shelter in nearby villages.
Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have conveyed their condolences to the Widodo, The Strait Times quoted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying.