Indonesia calls off search for quake, tsunami victims

The quake’s epicentre was in the Bali Sea around 40km off the eastern end of Java island

The quake’s epicentre was in the Bali Sea around 40km off the eastern end of Java island

The agency's spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said the death toll from the double disaster on September 28 has risen to 2,045, with most of the fatalities in the coastal city of Palu.

"Wow, that was really strong and it lasted a long time", said a woman named Davy who took refuge in the parking lot of a Bali hotel, several kilometres from where the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are holding their annual meetings this week. "I immediately woke up and took my little kids out of the house", mother-of-two Ni Komang Sudiani said.

It said "the quake was felt quite strongly by people in Sumenep and Situbondo for 2-5 seconds".

Others in Nusa Dua, south of Bali's main global airport, also panicked.

A shallow 6.0-magnitude quake struck off the coast of the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali early Thursday, the United States Geological Survey said, causing panicked people to flee their homes.

"There are political sensitivities, especially with an election coming up, and sovereignty is another issue", said Keith Loveard, a senior analyst with advisory and risk firm Concord Consulting, referring to polls due next year.

"The quake was very big".

"All my neighbours were also running".

Indonesia announced on Thursday it would be calling off the grim search for those killed in the quake-tsunami, with no hope of retrieving around 5,000 bodies believed to be still buried under the ruins almost two weeks after the disaster.

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The quake, which centered in East Java, resulted in the death of three people in Situbondo regency, East Java.

"We stayed outside until dawn", he said.

Central Sulawesi was devastated when hit by a 7.5 magnitude quake last month which killed nearly 2000 people with hundreds more still missing.

Thousands more remain missing since the twin disaster ravaged the city of Palu and surrounding areas.

Rescue teams are working with residents to try to identify where victims could be.

The government has said it needs to call off the search for bodies because of concern about the spread of disease, and begin to focus on the next phase - rebuilding.

Indonesia sits along the world's most tectonically active region, and its 260 million people are vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

The country is a particular hotspot for earthquakes as it is located on the Ring of Fire, a 40,000km area in the Pacific Ocean.

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