Third powerful earthquake hits Indonesian island of Lombok

Tens of thousands of people homeless as death toll from quakes jumps to estimated 259

A 23-year-old woman was found alive on Tuesday (August 7) after being trapped beneath a convenience store flattened by the earthquake that hit Lombok, Indonesia on Sunday (August 5). Video: Reuters


An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 has hit Indonesia’s Lombok island, less than a week after a 6.9-magnitude tremor that is believed to have killed 259 people.

Thursday’s earthquake struck just after midday, sending panicked residents into the streets. According to information from Indonesia’s meteorology agency the epicentre of the quake was 6km northwest of the island with a depth of 12km.

Residents in the city of Mataram and north Lombok, the areas hardest hit this past week, panicked after Thursday’s strong tremor, pouring out of their homes and evacuation posts. “There was one person who fell from the stairs because the tremor shook the stairs when they tried to get out of the building,” Rangga, one local resident in central Lombok, told CNN Indonesia.

Thursday’s was the biggest of 355 aftershocks since the 6.9-magnitude quake last Sunday which displaced more than 154,000 people, many of whom have been sleeping in makeshift tents by the roadside and in their fields.

A short video posted by Indonesia’s national disaster agency spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, on his Twitter account showed that Thursday’s quake has caused additional damage, with some buildings and power lines collapsed.

The full extent of the accumulative damage caused by the Thursday quake was not immediately known.

Basic supplies

Indonesia’s disaster and rescue agencies, as well as local officials and the military, which have been co-ordinating on relief efforts, were still trying to work out the exact death toll caused by Sunday’s powerful earthquake. Rescuers were continuing to retrieve bodies and attempting to get basic supplies such as food and water to the worst-hit areas.

Data from the national army has indicated that as many as 381 have died, while the governor of West Nusa Tenggara put the figure at 226, a number echoed by those from the search and rescue agency. The national disaster agency has reported 259 deaths so far.

The disaster agency spokesman said it was not uncommon for confusion about exact death tolls to arise during emergency and crisis situations, as has occurred in previous natural disasters such as an earthquake in Padang in 2009 and the eruption of Mount Merapi in 2010.

Straddling an area of high volcanic activity known as the “Ring of Fire”, Indonesia is highly prone to earthquakes.

This is the third large earthquake to strike Lombok in the past month. On July 29th, a 6.4-magnitude quake killed 17 people and briefly stranded hundreds of trekkers on the slopes of the Mount Rinjani volcano. – Guardian