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Indonesian quake toll rises to 17

An Indonesian health ministry source says the death toll from a series of powerful earthquakes in Sumatra island has risen to 17.

world Updated: Sep 15, 2007 09:14 IST

The death toll from a series of powerful earthquakes off Indonesia's Sumatra island rose to 17 on Saturday, as rescue workers scoured rubble for more survivors, a health ministry official said.

"The latest death toll update is 17 people killed and 88 others injured," Rustam Pakaya from the health ministry's crisis centre told Elshinta Radio.

Thirteen fatalities occurred in worst-hit Bengkulu province and four were in west Sumatra, he said.

Rescue teams dispatched in the wake of Wednesday's initial 8.4-magnitude quake continued to hunt for victims feared to be trapped under collapsed houses, he added.

Dozens of serious aftershocks have jolted already traumatised survivors of the quakes, many of whom remain too petrified to return to buildings.

Overall damage from the disaster is much lower than initially feared.

First Published: Sep 15, 2007 09:12 IST