91 dead in strong Indonesian tremor
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok late Sunday, killing at least 91 people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities said 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 29 July quake killed 16 people and damaged hundreds of houses, some of which collapsed in Sunday evening’s 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.
The Philippine Embassy in Jakarta said there were no indications of any Filipino being hurt in the earthquake.
Ambassador to Jakarta Leehiong Wee said a seven-member Philippine delegation who were in Lombok for a business meeting were safe and will be evacuated from the island.
The Department of Foreign Affairs also extended its sympathies to Indonesia.
“We extend our condolences to the families of those who perished and hope that those affected would be able to rebuild their lives after this incident,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.
Thousands of homes and buildings were damaged and 20,000 people are in temporary shelters, Sutopo said.
The quake, measured at a magnitude of 6.9 by the US 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. In 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.
Thousands of people are now trying to get off the island, she said, describing the mood as both somber and panicked.
Hundreds of people packed a sliver of brilliant white beach on the 16-square-kilometer (6-square-mile) island, shouting at rescue personnel trying to ensure an orderly evacuation, video and photos supplied by the local water police showed.
Sutopo said there were no fatalities among the local and foreign tourists and a joint search and rescue team had deployed three ships to evacuate people.
Australia’s home affairs minister tweeted that he and his delegation were safely evacuated in darkness from a Lombok hotel where they had been staying during a regional security conference.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told Fairfax Media that he was at 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.
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