Rebuilding mosques priority for devout on quake-hit Lombok

Gili islands The three tiny islands are located just off the coast of Lombok

A strong aftershock struck Indonesia's Lombok today, causing panic among evacuees already traumatised by a devastating natural disaster that killed more than 160 on the holiday island four days earlier.

The Indonesian island of Lombok has been hit by a strong tremor, as the search continues for victims of Sunday's quake.

Another major natural disaster just hit the tourist island of Lombok in Indonesia, just four days after a massive magnitude-6.9 quake struck Lombok island on Sunday evening.

Thousands have been left homeless and in desperate need of clean water, food, medicine and shelter in Lombok. The US Geological Survey has the tremor at a magnitude 5.9.

"People in the street began to panic and got out of their cars, they ran in different directions in the middle of traffic".

The Indonesian Red Cross says it's focusing its Lombok natural disaster relief efforts on an estimated 20,000 people in remote areas in the north of the island where aid still has not reached. On Tuesday, the government estimated up to 20,000 people were still in need of assistance in northern Lombok, with around 80% of buildings destroyed. Aid agencies say the number is likely to increase dramatically as they gain access to the worst-hit parts of the island.

Workers with heavy machinery are searching the rubble of homes, schools and mosques, with hope of finding any survivors fading. The chief of a search and rescue agency told the AP the death toll is at 227 as of Thursday.

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Some villages had "completely collapsed", said a Red Cross official in Lombok, Christopher Rassi.

The Indonesian Red Cross said it was focusing its Lombok quake relief efforts on an estimated 20,000 people in remote areas in the north of the island where aid still has not reached.

Wiranto said the government will develop a plan to rebuild communities on Lombok, which like its more famous neighbour Bali is a popular tourist destination with powder-white beaches, mountains and a lush interior.

"A lot of people are displaced, and many have migrated to the hilly and mountainous areas because of fear of a tsunami", Red Cross representative Husni Husni said.

Sunday's quake also sent some 2,500 people to hospital with serious injuries and drove more than 156,000 people from their homes.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

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