Indonesia raises Lombok quake death toll to 91

By Reuters   August 6, 2018 | 10:50 am GMT+7
Indonesia raises Lombok quake death toll to 91
People react following an earthquake in Ampenan district, Mataram, Lombok, Indonesia, August 5, 2018, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Photo by Antara Foto/Ahmad Subaidi/ via Reuters

At least 91 people were killed when a powerful quake rocked the Indonesian resort islands of Lombok and Bali, the disaster mitigation agency said on Monday.

Most of the victims were on the northern side of Lombok, near the epicentre of the 6.9 magnitude quake that hit in the early evening of Sunday. Two people died on the neighbouring island of Bali, agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

He said the death toll was expected to rise further as more data became available.

"Data collection continues and (rescue) efforts are still ongoing," Nugroho told a news conference, adding that there were no foreigners among the victims so far.

At least 209 people were injured.

The earthquake triggered widespread panic as thousands fled their homes for emergency shelters as buildings collapsed.

Singapore Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, who was on the 10th floor of a hotel in the Lombok town of Mataram at the time of the quake, wrote on Facebook that his room shook violently and walls cracked.

“It was quite impossible to stand up. Heard screams. Came out, and made my way down a staircase, while building was still shaking. Power went out for a while. Lots of cracks, fallen doors,” he wrote.

Most of the victims were killed by falling rubble in northern and western parts of Lombok.

An initial tsunami warning of waves of up to half a metre was issued following the quake but later withdrawn.

Lombok was hit by another powerful 6.4 quake a week earlier on July 29, killing 17 people and injuring hundreds of people.

More than 100 aftershocks have rattled Lombok since the quake, which was so powerful it was felt on the neighbouring island of Bali.

A person evacuated to the parking lot outside the Mataram City hospital with other patients, following a strong earthquake, is seen in Mataram, Lombok island, Indonesia August 5, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Photo by Antara Foto/Ahmad Subaidi/ via Reuters

A person evacuated to the parking lot outside the Mataram City hospital with other patients, following a strong earthquake, is seen in Mataram, Lombok island, Indonesia August 5, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Photo by Antara Foto/Ahmad Subaidi/ via Reuters

“The night condition and some disconnected communication lines pose some challenges in the field. Death count is expected to increase still,” the disaster management agency said.

I Nyoman Sidakarya, head of Mataram’s search and rescue agency, told TvOne, authorities will evacuate around 700 tourists and local residents from the nearby Gili Islands.

“We will evacuate people off of the three Gili islands. Some of them are hurt and are in shock,” Sidakarya said in the televised interview.

One person in Gili Air was killed, he said, but details about the victim is unknown yet.

Saffron Amis, a British student visiting the Gili Islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, told Reuters by text message that dozens of tourists were evacuated to a hill after the quake.

The quake struck Lombok in the early evening at a depth of 10 km (6 miles).

Most of Lombok suffered power cuts, local media reported.

Travellers at the international airports in Lombok and Bali were thrown into panic and there was minor damage to the buildings but operations were not disrupted, officials said.

The quake was felt for several seconds in Bali, 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. “A lot of officials were urging people not to panic.”

Other witnesses said the initial quake grew in intensity over several seconds, rattling windows and doors, and there were many aftershocks.

 
 
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