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    By Xinhua

    Jakarta : The death toll in the quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale in Bengkulu province in Indonesia’s Sumatra Island Wednesday rose to 21, the Indonesian health ministry said here Saturday.

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    Three deaths were reported from the worst hit tourist island of Mentawai, which is a heaven for surfing, in West Sumatra province, head of the ministry’s crisis centre Rustam Pakaya said. A total of 88 persons were injured in the quake.

    Another death was reported from in southern coastal area of the province, Pakaya said. “The total death toll reached 21, with 88 other persons having been wounded,” he told Xinhua.

    Up to Saturday, moderate to powerful tremors have frequently occurred, the epicentre having moved toward northern parts of the western waters off Sumatra Island, the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

    However, Pakaya said the fatalities and damages were mostly found in Bengkulu, which bore the brunt of the greatest intensity of 5 to 7 MMI (Modified Mercury Intensity) caused by the 7.9 magnitude quake Wednesday.

    The northern part of Bengkulu, the closest area to the epicentre of the quake, was the worst hit in the province, the Disaster and Management Agency said.

    Indonesia lies on a vulnerable quake zone, called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”, where two continental plates meet, resulting in frequent seismic and volcanic activities.