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Indonesia evacuates tourists after Lombok quake kills 91

By AFP | Published Mon, August 6th 2018 at 13:33, Updated August 6th 2018 at 13:39 GMT +3
Foreign tourists were among those injured on Lombok and the nearby Gili islands. [Photo: AFP]

Indonesia have sent rescuers fanning out across the holiday island of Lombok and evacuated hundreds of tourists after a powerful earthquake killed at least 91 people and damaged thousands of buildings.

The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake sparked terror among tourists and locals alike, coming just a week after another deadly tremor surged through Lombok and killed 17 people.

ALSO READ: Magnitude 7 earthquake rocks Indonesia's Lombok island

Rescuers on Monday searched for survivors in the rubble of houses, mosques and schools destroyed in the latest disaster on Sunday evening.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said there were fears a number of people were trapped in the ruins of a collapsed mosque in the northern village of Lading-Lading. Footage he posted on Twitter showed the large concrete mosque had pancaked.

Nugroho said a lack of heavy equipment and shattered roads were hampering efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north and east of the island, which had been hardest hit.

"The number of fatalities will definitely rise because some victims have not been found or rescued," he added.

An operation was also under way Monday to evacuate some 1,200 tourists from the Gili Islands, three tiny, coral-fringed tropical islands a few kilometres off the northwest coast of Lombok that are particularly popular with backpackers and divers.

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Margret Helgadottir, a holidaymaker from Iceland, described people screaming as the roof of her hotel on one of the islands collapsed.

"We just froze: thankfully we were outside," she told AFP tearfully from a harbour in Lombok where she had been evacuated to. "Everything went black, it was terrible."

The Lombok quake has already killed 91 people with fears the toll could rise. [PHOTO: AFP]

Footage posted online by Nugroho showed hundreds crowded onto powder-white beaches desperately awaiting off the normally paradise Gilis.

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"We cannot evacuate all of them all at once because we don't have enough capacity on the boats," Muhammad Faozal, the head of thr tourism agency in West Nusa Tenggara province, told AFP, adding two navy vessels were on their way.

"It's understandable they want to leave the Gilis, they are panicking."

Local disaster officials said 358 tourists had been evacuated so far. At least one person, an Indonesian holidaymaker, was killed on the Gili islands while another tourist died on nearby Bali.

- Night of aftershocks -

But it was Lombok which bore the brunt of Sunday evening's quake.

The shallow tremor sent thousands of Lombok residents and tourists scrambling outdoors, where many spent the night as strong aftershocks including one of 5.3-magnitude rattled the island.

The quake knocked out power in many areas, and parts of Lombok remained without electricity on Monday.

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Nugroho said up to 20,000 people may have had to quit their homes on Lombok and paramedics, food and medication were badly needed.

 


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