21 Jun 2010

Quake in Papua claims at least 17 lives, thousands homeless

7:14 pm on 21 June 2010

Disaster officials in Indonesia say 17 people are now known to have died and more than 4-thousand have been made homeless by last week's earthquake in West Papua province.

The powerful 7.1 magnitude quake struck off the northern coast of West Papua last Wednesday.

Priyadi Kardono from Indonesia's National Agency for Disaster Management says 13 of those who died were in a minibus which was caught in a landslide.

He says about 2,500 houses were badly damaged in the quake, leaving about 4,600 people homeless in nine villages on the island of Yapen.

Priyadi Kardono says while some people are staying with neighbours, others are making do in tents.

"Some of them going back to their house, small tent in the front of their house because they think it's better for them to stay in the front of their house because they are afraid of someone stolen their goods."

Priyadi Kardono says only small planes can land on Yapen, so they are sending most supplies by sea.

A doctor and nurse have also been sent to island.