Nearly 84,000 people made homeless by Aceh quake in Indonesia

An Indonesian rescue team searches for victims under a collapsed building days after an earthquake in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya district, in Aceh, Indonesia, on Dec 10, 2016.
An Indonesian rescue team searches for victims under a collapsed building days after an earthquake in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya district, in Aceh, Indonesia, on Dec 10, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA - The number of people made homeless by the devastating 6.5-magnitude quake which struck Indonesia's Aceh province last week has risen to nearly 84,000.

Most of the displaced, or 82,122 people, were from the hardest-hit Pidie Jaya regency, and the rest from Bireuen regency, the country's Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement.

"The number of displaced continues to increase due to fresh reports coming in. The 83,838 people came from 124 (areas)," he added.

The death toll from the Wednesday's (Dec 7) quake remains unchanged at 101, and the number of people injured stood at 666, he said. Nearly 12,000 buildings, including mosques, shops, and schools, were damaged.

Mr Said Mulyadi, Vice-Regent of Pidie Jaya, said the "surge in the number of displaced must be paid attention to".

He said the authorities will try to channel food staples such as rice, eggs and sugar directly to the villages according to population size.

As emergency response enters its sixth day, BNPB chief Willem Rampangilei said that President Joko Widodo has ordered "related ministers to go on the field". Military chief Gatot Nurmantyo is also on site to monitor the progress, he said.

"The search for victims, the management of the displaced people, clean-up of debris and building reconstruction will be carried out as soon as possible," he added.

About 4.7 million people live and work in Aceh, the western-most point of the Indonesian archipelago which is particularly quake-prone.

The Dec 26, 2004, tsunami left more than 230,000 people dead -  with the majority from Indonesia, especially Aceh. Other countries hit included Sri Lanka, Thailand and India.