Death toll in Lombok quake hits 131 as over 156,000 displaced

Marsha Scott
August 9, 2018

Aid began reaching isolated areas of the Indonesian island struggling after an natural disaster killed at least 131 people as rescuers intensified efforts Wednesday to find those buried in the rubble.

The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake destroyed thousands of buildings and triggered panic among tourists and locals on Lombok Sunday, just a week after a tremor had surged through the holiday island and killed 17.

However, hopes of finding more survivors are fading and a humanitarian crisis is looming for thousands left homeless and in desperate need of clean water, food, medicine and shelter.

In a separate part of North Lombok on Tuesday, rescuers in Lading-Lading village pulled out a few bodies and one survivor from the collapsed Jabbal Nur mosque.

Damage was "massive" in mountainous northern Lombok, where the quake was centered, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

He told a news conference that there are reports of other deaths but they still need to be verified.

The death toll is expected to rise, with one official telling reporters that 80 per cent of north Lombok has suffered damage.

Almost 1,500 people have been injured, with 156,000 displaced after the tremors caused extensive damage to their homes.

Juanda said: "I stayed (inside) during the first shock but the shock grew stronger and we rolled around trying to run out and I was already outside. when the mosque collapsed".

The hotel where they were staying, which Montgomery-Lay said is about 40 kilometres from the epicentre of the quake, was evacuated for most of Sunday night so staff could ensure it's was structurally sound.

Sarah and Adam, who are in their early 20s, had been staying on the Gili Islands before moving to Canggu in Bali - and it was there that they felt the earth tremble.

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Rescuers dug through the rubble of a mosque on Wednesday where an unknown number of people were suspected buried.

The quake was the second in a week to hit Lombok.

"We slept in a bungalow until another quake hit us at midnight and then we moved to the beach", she said.

Officials said close to 5,000 foreign and domestic tourists had been evacuated from the three Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, where two people died.

A damaged mosque in North Lombok.

Like Bali, Lombok is known for its pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by a shortage of heavy-lifting equipment such as excavators, as hundreds of aftershocks continued to shake the island following Sunday's magnitude-7 natural disaster.

Lombok's airport has reopened and has significantly increased the amount of flights coming in and out from the island.

At least 98 people have been killed in the large quake as it hit the Indonesian island at about 6.45pm Sunday with hundreds still stranded on the island only accessible by boat.

The country sits on the Ring of Fire, a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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