Lombok natural disaster: Strong aftershock amid rescue efforts

Larry Hoffman
August 11, 2018

It was the third big quake to hit Lombok in little over a week.

An aerial view of the collapsed Jamiul Jamaah mosque where rescue workers and soldiers search for natural disaster victims in Pemenang, North Lombok, Indonesia on August 8, 2018.

Wiranto said the government will develop a plan to rebuild communities on Lombok, which like its more famous neighbour Bali is a popular tourist destination with powder-white beaches, mountains and a lush interior.

The death toll from Monday's 6.9 magnitude quake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has risen dramatically overnight to 347, with state-run news agency Antara issuing the new figure.

Officials said the epicenter of the aftershock was on land and so there was no risk of a tsunami.

Between July 29 (local time) and August 10 the United States Geological Survey (USGS) recorded 30 earthquakes on or close to the island of Lombok, with more than 20 above 4.5 on the Richter scale in intensity.

"We are still waiting for assessments from some of the more remote areas in the north of the island, but it is already clear that Sunday's natural disaster was exceptionally destructive", Christopher Rassi, the head of the assessment team for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a statement.

Scientists say the powerful Indonesian quake that killed almost 400 people lifted the island it struck by as much as 25 centimetres (10 inches).

Over 1,400 people have been injured and the quake has also displaced more than 1,50,000. It was one of hundreds of aftershocks since the original natural disaster on Sunday; more are expected to hit in the days to come. So far, the worst damage has occurred in North Lombok with a death toll of 78.

According to Indonesia's meteorological agency, Thursday's quake struck at a depth of 12.5 miles, originating several miles northwest of Lombok.

Motorcycles parked on the street were seen toppled over, while the walls of other nearby buildings collapsed. The quake split apart roads near the coast and sparked landslides that cut off routes used by emergency medical workers and rescue crews who are still trying to clear rubble and recover the dead.

"It never stops", said Jami-ah, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

Other evacuees said they were subsisting on a diet of instant noodles and needed clean water and bedding.

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