Lombok / Powerful earthquake rocks tourist island, killing 14

Posted on: July 30, 2018 | Current Affairs

A strong earthquake has hit the Indonesian island of Lombok, killing at least 14 people and injuring scores more

A view of a collapsed house after an earthquake struck in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, 29 July 2018 Photo: Eka Ramadani / EPA-EFE

The 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist island early on Sunday morning, wreaking havoc as thousands of homes were damaged.

So far 14 people have been confirmed dead, including a Malaysian tourist on a hiking trip to Mount Rinjani, while around 160 people have been injured.

Most of the casualties were caused by structures caving in or by falling debris, as people attempted to escape to open ground, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the country’s disaster agency, explained.

“The most pressing needs now are medical personnel, stretchers, health equipment, kids wares and food,” Nugroho told Reuters.

Over 100 aftershocks were recorded, with the largest reaching a magnitude of 5.7, according to Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency.

“It happened so suddenly at around six in the morning. Suddenly everything simply collapsed,” Siti Sumarni, a local who lives close to the earthquake’s epicentre, told Reuters. “My child was inside the house, thankfully he survived.”

The centre of the quake occurred 50km northeast of the city Mataram, around Mount Rinjani, an active volcano. The effects, though, could be felt on neighbouring island Bali, which lies to the west and is very popular with tourists. No injuries were reported by people on Bali.

Indonesia is no stranger to earthquakes, lying as it does on the Ring of Fire, a string of volcanoes that stretch around the edge of the Pacific Ocean in a horseshoe shape.

In 2016 a earthquake of a similar magnitude struck the Aceh region of Sumatra, killing 104 people and injuring more than a thousand.