Indonesia: Major earthquake in Lombok kills scores

At least 82 are killed as Lombok island is rocked by a magnitude-6.9 quake a week after a separate quake killed 17.

Lombok quake
Patients are seen outside a hospital near Denpasar, Bali, following a strong earthquake on nearby Lombok island [Johannes P. Christo/Reuters]

At least 82 have been killed after a major earthquake hit Indonesia‘s popular tourist island of Lombok, an official has said.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said Sunday’s magnitude-6.9 quake struck 3km from Loloan about 31km underground. 

In a Tweet, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency, said that by 02:30am local time (19:30GMT) the death tally stood at 82, with hundreds injured and thousands of homes damaged.

Muhammad Rum, the head of the local disaster agency, earlier said most of the deaths were caused by falling debris. 

The earthquake came a week after a magnitude-6.4 quake killed at least 17, injured more than 160 and damaged hundreds of buildings. 

Authorities briefly issued a tsunami warning, which was later cancelled. 

“Please go to a place with higher ground, while remaining calm and not panicking,” Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the agency for meteorology, climatology and geophysics, told local TV.

She later said seawater had entered three villages. 

North Lombok district chief Najmul Akhyar said an electrical blackout meant he was unable to fully assess the situation. 

The earthquake was felt for several seconds in neighbouring Bali, about 100km away, where people ran out of houses, hotels and restaurants.

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

“[There’s] a lot of damage reported from the smaller villages in the north and west of Lombok, but the real extent of the damage will only become clearer in the morning,” said Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

“There’s a lot of concern about the people who were in the villages already destroyed by last week’s earthquake. Many of them were still sleeping and staying on the streets because they were too afraid to go back into their houses,” she added.

“You can imagine the panic and trauma for these people going through all this again.” 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies