Rustam Pakaya, from the Indonesian health ministry's crisis centre, had said that the toll had risen to 23, with 88 people said to have been injured.

Rescue teams have been continuing their search for victims reportedly trapped under thousands of buildings toppled by the earthquakes, and many survivors have been too afraid to return to their homes.

According to Bowo Santoso from the governor's disaster rescue centre, nearly 2,000 houses were destroyed in Bengkulu, and nearly 4,000 others badly damaged.

About 90 local hospitals and clinics were also damaged, he said.

Aid 'not received

In West Sumatra, more than 9,700 houses collapsed or were too badly damaged to be inhabitable.

An international aid effort is said to be
unnecessary [EPA]
Aid has been flowing to many of the affected areas, though officials say that some survivors had still not received any of it.

Frans Karel, an official on the island of Pagai Utara, said no aid had yet been received and many villagers were sheltering in the hills.

Karel said: "We haven't yet received aid. All the kiosks have collapsed and their food stocks are wet." 

"Almost 75 per cent of houses on the coastline along a 10-kilometre stretch are badly damaged and collapsed."

In the city of Mukomuko, about 260km north of Bengkulu, residents were desperate for help.

Muslimar, a 50-year-old resident, said: "We have no rice, we have clothes, we have no kerosene. We want to buy supplies, but there is no one to sell them to us."

The scale of the damage, considering the initial earthquake's size and subsequent shocks, has been much lower than initially expected.

Meanwhile, the UN has said no international aid effort would be required to help with recovery efforts.