Another strong aftershock hits Indonesia's Lombok island

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The powerful magnitude-6.9 quake that struck the island on Sunday has left tens of thousands of people homeless and tourists stranded in airports.

Lombok was hit by three big quakes in little more than a week.

Indonesia's tourist island of Lombok was struck by a 7-magnitude natural disaster on August 5.

The US Geological survey reported a 5.2-magnitude quake just off the coast of Lombok between the tourist town of Senggigi and the Gili Islands on Monday at 11.50pm.

Indonesia's chief security minister Wiranto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said the latest figures before the third quake suggested 319 people had died.

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And in late July, another 6.4-magnitude quake in Lombok killed 16 people and damaged hundreds of houses.

"People in the street began to panic and got out of their cars, they ran in different directions in the middle of traffic".

Both seismic events struck in Lombok's north, a more residential and less developed part of the island than the resort-filled south. On Tuesday, the government estimated up to 20,000 people were still in need of assistance in northern Lombok, with around 80% of buildings destroyed.

Grieving relatives were burying their dead and medics tended to people whose broken limbs hadn't yet been treated in the days since Sunday's quake.

"This number will continue increasing as rescue teams continue to find victims under collapsed buildings", the agency said in a statement.

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"In some villages we visited the destruction was nearly 100 percent, all houses collapsed, roads are cracked and bridges were broken", said Arifin Muhammad Hadi, a spokesman for the Indonesian Red Cross.

Thursday's quake could be felt on Bali, another popular Indonesian resort island west of Lombok.

The island was still recovering after two other recent earthquakes when the tremor happened.

'People are always saying they need water and tarps, ' he said, adding they were also looking for people with untreated injuries.

A field hospital has also been established near an evacuation centre catering to more than 500 people in the village of Tanjung.

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Indonesia, located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, is an area of great seismic and volcanic activity, and is shaking each year by some 7,000 telluric movements of varying intensity.

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