Strong quake jolts tourist island of Lombok, kills 10

By AFP |July 29,2018 - 08:37 PM

Authorities scrambled to assess the damage to buildings and infrastructure. /AFP

Indonesia

A powerful earthquake on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok killed at least 10 people, injured dozens and damaged hundreds of homes on Sunday, officials said.

The shallow 6.4-magnitude quake, which jolted the island in the early morning, sent people running outside in panic and triggered landslides on popular mountain hiking routes.

The initial tremor in the north of the island was followed by two strong secondary quakes and more than 100 aftershocks.

“The earthquake killed at least 10 people, some 40 people are injured and hundreds of houses were damaged,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency.

“We estimate the number will keep rising because we are not done collecting data,” Nugroho said.

A 30-year old Malaysian woman was among the dead, he said, adding those hurt were hit by debris.

As authorities scrambled to assess the damage to buildings and infrastructure, popular trekking trails on Mount Rinjani were closed because of landslides, according to the disaster agency.

One local trek organizer described how rocks rained down on two Spanish hikers and their guide as they were caught on a mountain trail.

“My trekking guide who was accompanying two tourists from Spain suffered from minor injuries during the jolt. They were hiking from Segara Anak Lake to Plawangan and rocks were falling on them during the quake,” said Karyadi, the owner of a guesthouse near Rinjani where the pair were staying.

“Our guests were in shock because of the incident,” said Karyadi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

“There have been almost non-stop tremors since this morning,” he said.

The epicentre of the earthquake struck 50 kilometers northeast of Lombok’s main city Mataram, the United States Geological Survey said, far from the main tourist spots on the south and west of the island.

USGS said two of the aftershocks measured more than five-magnitude.

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