At least 98 dead after quake hits Indonesia’s Lombok island

 

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.0 quake struck at a depth of 10.5 kilometres about 2 kilometres east-southeast of Loloan.

Bikes are seen covered in debris at a mall in Bali's capital Denpasar on August 5, 2018 after a major earthquake rocked the neighbouring Lombok island.Bikes are seen covered in debris at a mall in Bali’s capital Denpasar on August 5, 2018 after a major earthquake rocked the neighbouring Lombok island. (AFP)

A powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing at least 98 people and shaking neighbouring Bali, as authorities said Monday rescuers still hadn’t reached some hard-hit areas and the death toll could climb.

It was the second deadly quake in a week to hit Lombok. A July 29 quake killed 16 people and damaged hundreds of houses, some of which collapsed in Sunday evening’s temblor, killing those inside.

The quake, measured at 7.0 magnitude by Indonesian authorities and a still-powerful 6.9 by the US Geological Survey, struck early Sunday evening at a depth of 10.5 kilometres (6 miles) in the northern part of Lombok.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference damage was «massive» in the north of Lombok and more than 200 people were seriously injured.

TRT World’s Arabella Munro reports.

Officials said more than 2,000 people had been evacuated from the three Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, where fears of a tsunami spread among tourists. Thousands of homes and buildings were damaged.

Some areas still hadn’t been reached, with rescuers hampered by collapsed bridges, electricity blackouts and damaged roads blocked with debris.

TRT World‘s Jack Hewson reports.

Video showed screaming people running in panic from houses in a Bali neighbourhood and vehicles rocking. On Lombok, soldiers and other rescuers carried injured people on stretchers and carpets to evacuation centres. Many victims were treated outdoors because hospitals were damaged.

«People panicked and scattered on the streets and buildings and houses that had been damaged by the previous earthquake had become more damaged and collapsed,» Sutopo said.

TRT World‘s Aishe Jamal reports.

Tsunami warning

The quake triggered a tsunami warning and frightened people poured out of their homes to move to higher ground, particularly in North Lombok and Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province.

The warning was lifted after waves of just 15 centimetres (6 inches) high were recorded in three villages, said Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.

«I was watching TV when I felt a big shake,» said Harian, a Lombok woman who gave one name. «The lamp was shaking, and people were shouting ‘Get out.’ I ran out into the dark because the power cut off.»

A joint search and rescue team was evacuating hundreds of tourists from three popular vacation islands off the northwest of Lombok. Sutopo said there were no fatalities among the local and foreign holidaymakers.

Australia’s home affairs minister tweeted that he and his delegation were safely evacuated in darkness from a Lombok hotel where they have been staying during a regional security conference.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told Fairfax Media that he was on the hotel’s 12th floor when the quake struck. He said the quake «was powerful enough to put us on the floor» and cut power.

The Bali and Lombok airports continued operating Sunday night, according to the director general of civil aviation. There had been a half-hour evacuation at the Lombok airport following the quake because the electricity went off. TV showed crying women consoling each other outside Lombok’s airport.

Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the Pacific «Ring of Fire,» an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

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