Powerful Quake Kills 14 On Indonesian Tourist Island Lombok

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REUTERS |

A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist island of Lombok in Indonesia on Sunday killing 14 people and sending villagers fleeing from their beds into open fields to avoid collapsing buildings.

The quake, which rocked the island early in the morning when many people were still asleep, injured 162 people and damaged thousands of houses.

Electricity was cut off in the worst–hit area, Sembalun, a sparsely populated area of rice paddies and the slopes of Mount Rinjani on the northern side of the island.

Emergency tent was set up on a street in Sembalun to treat the injured because the local hospital was damaged.

The United States Geological Survey slightly downgraded Sunday’s quake after initially calling it 7.0–magnitude. Four aftershocks ranging from 5.4 to 4.3–magnitude followed the main quake, the USGS said.

The epicentre of the shallow earthquake struck 50km northeast of Lombok’s main city Mataram, the US Geological Survey said, far from the main tourist spots on the south and west of the island.

Sunday morning’s tremor was followed by two strong secondary quakes and more than 60 aftershocks, damaging more than a thousand buildings. The earthquake — at a depth of seven kilometres — was on land and did not trigger a tsunami.

Many people were hurt after being hit by falling debris from damaged buildings. 67 were hospitalised with serious injuries.

Indonesia’s Tsunami Early Warning System had issued a tsunami warning after the main quake but it was later lifted, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Agency.

The quake was 10.5 kilometres deep and struck near Loloan on the north end of the island of Lombok. It was also felt on the neighboring island of Bali to the west.

 

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. The Indonesian archipelago, where Lombok and Bali are located, is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of intense seismic and volcanic activity

 

Lombok was hit by an earthquake a week ago that killed more than a dozen people.

The Indonesia Red Cross reported that four of its volunteers were injured and transported to a hospital.

Red Cross workers were moving people to higher ground and advising people in coastal areas to leave due to tsunami concerns, said agency spokesman Arifin M Hadi. He said power was out in parts of Lombok.

Images posted on social media showed damage at the Bali airport, including large ceiling tiles hanging loose or fallen to the ground. Other images showed people evacuating hotels.

“All the hotel guests were running so I did too. People filled the streets,” said Michelle Lindsay, an Australian tourist in Bali told Reuters.

An emergency tent was set up on a street in Sembalun to treat the injured because the local hospital was damaged, and those in a critical condition were taken to other hospitals.

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.

The Indonesian archipelago, where Lombok and Bali are located, is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of intense seismic and volcanic activity.

The 40,000–kilometre (25,000–mile) area stretches from the boundary of the Pacific Plate and the smaller plates such as the Philippine Sea plate to the Cocos and Nazca Plates that line the edge of the Pacific Ocean. ■

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