Second powerful quake rocks Lombok
A STRONG aftershock has hit Indonesia’s Lombok island as rescuers race to find people buried in rubble following the devastating earthquake on Sunday.
The United States Geological Survey reported a 5.9 magnitude quake rocked the island, where tens of thousands of people were left homeless after the tragedy four days ago.
The powerful aftershock was also felt in Bali, with Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia chief economist Rick Newnham tweeting it had caused damage at Denpasar’s Ngurah Rai Airport.
Another Twitter user reported feeling the quake in Ubud while buying relief supplies.
“The quake was felt strongly. There have been 355 aftershocks since Sunday,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
— Rick Newnham (@RickNewnham)
— Deniz Reno (@DenizReno)
Indonesia’s geological agency said the quake on Thursday afternoon had a magnitude of 6.2 and was shallow, at a depth of 12 kilometres, centred in the northwest of the island.
Evacuees at a shelter in northern Lombok’s Tanjung district ran out onto the road crying and screaming, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
A tweet confirmed the reporter’s alarming observation, with people heard wailing and screaming on a Lombok street.
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Motorcycles parked on the street toppled over and the walls of some nearby buildings collapsed.
A woman wearing a motorbike helmet was seen crying with her two daughters in her arms.
“We were stuck in the traffic while delivering aid, suddenly it felt like our car was hit from behind, it was so strong,” witness Sri Laksmi told AFP.
“People in the street began to panic and got out of their cars, they ran in different directions in the middle of the traffic.”
ALARMING DEATH TOLL AFTER SUNDAY’S QUAKE
Buildings still standing on Lombok have been weakened after Sunday’s 7.0 magnitude quake, with the death toll having reportedly risen to 347.
Most of the people died in Kayangan, on the north side of the island, according to the state-run Antara news agency.
The national disaster agency has stood by its latest death toll of 131 from the quake despite other government agencies including the military reporting much higher figures.
The governor of the province that includes Lombok, the military and the national search and rescue agency issued different death tolls that ranged from 226 to 381.
Another 1,447 people have been injured and 165,003 displaced.
As the aid effort stepped up, volunteers and rescue personnel erected more temporary shelters for the tens of thousands left homeless on Lombok by the magnitude 7.0 quake.
Water, which has been in short supply due to a prolonged dry spell on the island, as well as food and medical supplies were being distributed from trucks. The military said it sent five planes carrying food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers.
Nearly 1500 people are in hospital with serious injuries and more than 156,000 have been displaced due to the extensive damage to thousands of homes. Thousands of people have been sleeping in makeshift shelters or out in the open.
At a collapsed mosque in Bangsal district, emergency workers in orange uniforms removed a woman’s body from the ruins on Wednesday morning. A green and yellow dome rested on the pile of rubble, the only part of the structure still intact.
Authorities said all the tourists who wanted to be evacuated from three outlying holiday islands due to power blackouts and damage to hotels had left by boat, some 5000 people in all.
The quake was the second in a week to hit Lombok. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake on July 29 killed 16 people and cracked and weakened many structures, amplifying the damage that occurred in Sunday’s quake.
Like its famous neighbour Bali, Lombok is known for beaches, mountains and a lush interior.
Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.