Indonesia earthquake: At least 91 dead, rescue efforts continue
Mataram: A powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing at least 91 people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities said that 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 magnitude 7.0 temblor, killing those inside.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference that damage was “massive” in the north of Lombok.
Some areas still hadn’t been reached, with rescuers hampered by collapsed bridges, electricity blackouts and damaged roads blocked with debris.
Sutopo said the death toll had risen to 91 and more than 200 people were seriously injured. Thousands of homes and buildings were damaged.
The quake, measured at a magnitude of 7.0 by Indonesian authorities and a still-powerful 6.9 by the U.S. Geological Survey, struck early Sunday evening at a depth of 10.5 kilometers (6 miles) in the northern part of Lombok.
Video showed screaming people running in panic from houses in a Bali neighborhood and vehicles rocking. On Lombok, soldiers and other rescuers carried injured people on stretchers and carpets to evacuation centers. 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.
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 on Sunday after only small waves were recorded.
“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.”
On Gili Trawangan, one of three popular vacation islands near Lombok, thousands of tourists and locals spent the night on a hill fearing a tsunami, said British visitor Saffron Amis.
“There was a lot of screaming and crying, particularly from the locals,” said Amis, from Brighton. “We spoke to a lot of them and they were panicking about their family in Lombok. It was just a lot of panic because no one knew what was happening.”