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At Least 98 Dead and 20000 Homeless in Indonesia Earthquake

At Least 98 Dead and 20,000 Homeless in Indonesia Earthquake


A magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the island of Lombok killed at least 98 people and displaced around 20,000 others.Published OnCreditImage by Indonesia Water Police, via Reuters

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Rescue workers dug through rubble in a search for survivors on Monday, a day after an earthquake devastated the Indonesian resort of Lombok and sent thousands of tourists fleeing.

The 7.0-magnitude temblor claimed at least 98 lives and injured another 236 people, and it left at least 20,000 people homeless, according to the authorities.

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No tourists were reported killed. But the earthquake on Sunday, which struck at 6:46 p.m. local time, was felt as far away as the neighboring island of Bali, where two people died. And it was followed by more than a dozen aftershocks, including one Monday morning that registered a magnitude of 5.4.

Long lines formed at the airport of Lombok’s main town, Mataram, as tourists cut short their holidays. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said 18 extra flights had been added for departing tourists.

“I was at the rooftop of my hotel and the building started swaying very hard,” Gino Poggiali, a 43-year-old Frenchman who was with his wife and two children at the airport, told The Associated Press. “I could not stand up.”

Residents in North Lombok were allowed to return home on Monday. Many found their homes in ruins.CreditAntara Foto/Reuters

The Indonesian Red Cross said on Twitter it had helped a woman give birth at a health post after the quake. One of the names she gave the baby boy was “Gempa,” which means earthquake.

Many residents found their houses reduced to rubble after the magnitude 7.0 temblor on Sunday along the island’s northern coast, forcing them to erect makeshift tents in their own yards, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency.

“People were allowed to return home since last night, but some refused because they were still traumatized,” Mr. Sutopo told reporters.

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Among the displaced residents were inhabitants of a northern village called Mentigi, who fled to nearby hills. Blue tarpaulins filled the landscape, as people prepared to spend the nights outdoors because of aftershocks or because their homes had been destroyed.

“We are getting some aid from volunteers, but we don’t have proper tents yet,” a 50-year-old villager sheltering with his wife and children, who gave his name only as Marhun, told The Associated Press.

Sengiggi, a normally busy seaside tourist strip on Lombok, looked abandoned. Most hotels seemed to have shut, and beaches were deserted. The few restaurants left open were rationing food.


The injured were treated outside the hospital in Tanjung on Monday.CreditBeawiharta/Reuters

Search-and-rescue teams continued to comb through the debris of thousands of buildings and homes looking for survivors and victims as the government dispatched medical support teams to the island.

Tourists were being evacuated on ships from the Gili Islands, a collection of three tiny islands that are popular for diving and snorkeling and lie just off Lombok’s northwest coast. About 2,700 foreign and Indonesian tourists had already been taken to the mainland by early Monday evening, Mr. Sutopo said.

The Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, has ordered the Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs to oversee all rescue, recovery and aid efforts on Lombok.


The Indonesian authorities said 20,000 people were displaced by the earthquake.CreditAntara Foto/Reuters

“To the people of Lombok and surrounding areas, please keep calm,” Mr. Joko said on Twitter on Monday, as the magnitude of the destruction became clear. “Our brothers are not alone in facing this ordeal. We are with you all.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Jakarta on an official visit during the weekend, also expressed condolences to the earthquake victims via Twitter.

This was the second deadly earthquake in a week to strike Lombok, which lies just to the east of Bali. In the early hours of July 29, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the same region of the island, killing 17 people and injuring more than 160.


Hundreds of foreign tourists prepared to be evacuated.CreditAntara Foto/Reuters

The earthquake on Sunday was also felt on Sumbawa Island, to the east of Lombok, and in Mataram, the capital of Lombok, with two shopping malls and a cathedral suffering damage.

Television footage on Sunday night showed panicked residents and tourists fleeing to safety on both Lombok and Bali, after a warning that the quake and major aftershocks could cause a devastating tsunami. That warning was later canceled.

Indonesia straddles the Pacific Ocean’s so-called Ring of Fire, which is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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