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Indonesia president makes rebuilding pledge on visit to earthquake survivors

Indonesia’s president has travelled to areas of Aceh province devastated by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake, as estimates of the number of displaced people swelled, and vowed that torn-apart communities would be rebuilt.

Stopping at a collapsed mosque in Tringgading, not far from the quake’s epicentre, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo gave out envelopes stuffed with 15 million rupiah (£900) – a small fortune in Aceh where the minimum wage is about 2 million rupiah (£120) a month – to people whose family members were killed.

“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 the crowd.

At least 100 people were killed in the quake which hit the north-east of Aceh province on Sumatra before dawn on Wednesday. Hundreds of others were injured and more than 11,000 buildings destroyed or damaged. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said about 23,000 people are displaced. They are staying in temporary shelters and mosques or with relatives.

Killer quakes occur regularly in the region, where many live with the terrifying memory of a huge earthquake off Sumatra on December 26 2004 earthquake. The magnitude 9.1 quake triggered a devastating tsunami which killed more than 100,000 Acehnese.

“I don’t know what to do but I’m really thankful for this (donation),” said Miftahuddin, who received 15 million rupiah (£900) from Mr Jokowi. “Because we don’t have anything left,” said Miftahuddin, who goes by one name.

A substantial relief effort is unde rway involving the government, military and international humanitarian organisations.

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