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Indonesia earthquake death toll reaches 310 as more bodies are found


CIANJUR, Indonesia — The death toll from the earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Java earlier this week has risen to 310 after rescuers found more bodies under landslides, an official said. At least 24 people are still missing.

In devastated towns in West Java, residents gathered near badly damaged mosques for Friday prayers. Others held prayers with rescuers between the tents of evacuation centers.

Bodies were found Friday in two areas of the mountainous district of Cianjur where landslides triggered by Monday’s earthquake brought tons of mud, stones and broken trees, said Henri Alfiandi, head of the Agency National Search and Rescue.

More than 1,400 rescuers have searched the rubble since the 5.6 magnitude quake injured more than 2,000 people.

National Disaster Management Agency chief Suharyanto, who uses a single name, said rescuers will continue to search until reconstruction begins.

“We will do it until the last person. There is no reduction in strength, enthusiasm or equipment,” Suharyanto said.

He said the distribution of food and other aid was improving and reaching more people in 110 evacuation locations.

The disaster management agency said the quake damaged at least 56,000 homes and displaced at least 36,000 people. Hundreds of public facilities were destroyed, including 363 schools.

An earthquake of this strength would generally not cause such severe damage. But Monday’s quake was shallow and rocked a densely populated area that lacks earthquake-resistant infrastructure.

Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis due to its location on the arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific basin known as the “Ring of Fire”.

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Associated Press writer Edna Tarigan in Jakarta, Indonesia contributed to this report.

ABC

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