91 Killed | Await Rescue After Massive Quake In Indonesia

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JAKARTA |

At least 91 people — all Indonesian — were killed by the 6.9–magnitude quake and more than 200 were injured, Indonesian authorities said Monday. Most of the dead were killed by falling debris.

The number of victims is expected to rise, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the head of Indonesia’s disaster management department.

The Gili Islands — famous for their white sandy beaches and clear waters — have reportedly been hit hard, with pictures showing buildings destroyed and tourists left stranded.

Video tweeted by authorities showed hundreds of people, many believed to be foreign holiday–makers, crammed onto a beach on the island of Gili Trawangan, as evacuation measures got underway.

An estimated 200 tourists have been evacuated from the three Gili islands, while as many as 800 are awaiting rescue.

In total, some 20,000 people have been displaced by the massive earthquake, Nugroho said. Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his condolences in a statement and said he was monitoring disaster relief efforts.

The epicentre of the Sunday earthquake struck Lombok’s north, a more residential, less developed part of the island. The majority of Lombok’s tourist resorts are on the island’s southern coast.

Images on social media reportedly from the worse affected areas show catastrophic devastation, with buildings and homes left completely flattened.

 

Residents and tourists were advised to stay outside, with many choosing to sleep in the streets and public areas away from large buildings. While hospital patients were wheeled outside, due to fear of aftershocks

 

Many of those in northern Lombok were thought to be inside praying when the quake struck late Sunday, said Endri Susanto, who runs a non–governmental organisation assisting with relief efforts.

Roads leading into the north of Lombok were badly damaged in the quake, Susanto said, hampering aid efforts.

The earthquake was also felt in neighboring Bali, another popular tourist spot. More than 100 aftershocks continued to rattle the region after the main quake, which struck exactly one week after a 6.4–magnitude quake hit the region.

Across the island, residents and tourists were advised to stay outside, with many choosing to sleep in the streets and public areas away from large buildings. While hospital patients were wheeled outside, due to fear of aftershocks.

Though the quakes this summer have been particularly strong, Indonesia country is no stranger to seismic activity.

The archipelago is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire — a 25,000–mile (40,000–kilometre) area of strong tectonic and volcanic activity where most of the world’s earthquakes occur. ■

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