Indonesian president vows to rebuild quake-ravaged Aceh

Joko Widodo distributes cash to injured survivors as number of displaced people swells.

Indonesia’s president has vowed to rebuild areas devastated by an earthquake that killed more than 100 people and left thousands homeless.

Joko Widodo flew to Aceh province on Friday and met victims in hospitals before visiting a local mosque damaged in the quake.

Indonesia: Search for earthquake survivors continues

“I’ve already decided that the mosque will be rebuilt as soon as possible, but we have to do it together starting tomorrow,” he told a crowd as he handed out envelopes containing $1,125 to people whose family members were killed.

At least 100 people were killed in Wednesday’s 6.5-magnitude quake that levelled hundreds of homes, mosques and businesses across Aceh province, one of the areas worst affected by the destructive 2004 tsunami.

Rescue crews have been searching the rubble with sniffer dogs while excavators clear the debris-strewn streets two days after the disaster.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from Pidie Jaya, one of the hardest-hit regions, said thousands had spent a second night in shelters and hospitals.

“More than 2,000 people are staying at a local mosque where makeshift tents and camps have been set up,” Vaessen said. “Eleven thousand people are officially displaced but many more are spending the night outside because they are too scared to stay indoors.”

Earlier on Friday, Widodo and his entourage visited a hospital in the town of Sigli where Widodo handed out envelopes containing $375 to each of the injured.

IN PICTURES: Indonesia earthquake – Rescuers search for survivors

Officials lowered the death toll to 100 from 102 on Thursday, with the disaster mitigation agency saying the names of two victims had been recorded twice.

Killer quakes occur regularly in the region, where many live with the terrifying memory of a giant December 26, 2004 earthquake which struck off Sumatra.

The magnitude 9.1 quake triggered a devastating tsunami that killed more than 170,000 people in Indonesia alone, the vast majority in Aceh.

Rescue teams have flocked to the Aceh province to search for survivors [Reuters]
Rescue teams have flocked to the Aceh province to search for survivors [Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera