Jakarta. The death toll from the magnitude-7 earthquake that struck Lombok Island in West Nusa Tenggara on Aug. 4 has risen to 436, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, or BNPB, said on Monday (13/08), amid calls for the government to declare it a national disaster.
The BNPB said the death toll was still expected to rise, while the number of displaced people stood at 352,793 as of Monday.
The area also continues to experience aftershocks. BNPB spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said 543 have been recorded so far and that this would likely continue for another three to four weeks.
The agency said losses from the earthquake will exceed Rp 5 trillion ($342 million).
"Most of the damages and losses are from housing areas, with thousands of homes destroyed," Sutopo said.
House of Representatives lawmaker Lalu Gede Syamsul Mujahidin meanwhile urged the government to declare the Lombok earthquake as a national disaster, which he said would enhance the central government's disaster management efforts.
"The West Nusa Tenggara provincial government does not have adequate financial capabilities to address the rehabilitation process after this earthquake," the lawmaker said, as quoted by Suara Pembaruan.
He acknowledged the risk that such a declaration could harm the country's tourism industry, so he suggested instead that the government establishes a special program to fund Lombok's reconstruction from the national budget.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo paid a visit to the affected areas, especially North Lombok district, on Monday and he was scheduled to spend the night in a tent at a temporary shelter in the area, according to a statement issued by the Cabinet Secretariat.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing, while aid distribution is still being hampered by damaged transportation infrastructure.