Another earthquake hits Lombok

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LOMBOK, 6 August 2018: A powerful earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Lombok, Sunday, sending people running from their homes and triggering a tsunami alert, just a week after a quake killed 17 people on the holiday island.

The latest tremor had a magnitude of seven and struck just 10 km underground according to the US Geological Survey. It was followed by two aftershocks.

Asian Trails was the first to issue an alert to travel partners worldwide. In a statement posted at 2200, Sunday, the travel company said Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency issued a tsunami warning and guests on the Gili islands, Senggigi area and surroundings were moved to higher ground. The warning was lifted an hour later.

Although the earthquake was felt as well on Bali the main damage occurred on north Lombok. At least 82 people have been killed and there are reports of many casualties.

“We are currently trying to get in touch with guests on the Gili and Lombok islands to reassure them,” the company reported. “This effort will take some time due to overstretched telecommunication networks and a power outage on Lombok island and will last well into Monday, 6 August, but we assume that all our guests are safe.”

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency, said many buildings were thought to have been damaged in Lombok’s main city of Mataram.

“They are mostly buildings with weak construction material,” Nugroho said. Residents in Mataram described a strong jolt that sent people scrambling out of buildings.

The epicentre was in the sea 18 km northwest of Lombok, the USGS said, far from the main tourist spots on the south and west of the island. The USGS reported two aftershocks, one with a magnitude of 5.4.

The quake was felt some 100 km (60 miles) away on the bustling resort island of Bali, and there were early reports of damage including to Ngurah Rai International Airport. Agung Widodo, a resident of Bali’s main town of Denpasar, said he felt two strong tremors.

“The first one lasted quite a while, the second one was only about 2-5 seconds. The first one was the bigger one,” he told AFP. People could be heard screaming as locals and tourists ran onto the road.

The tremor came a week after a shallow 6.4-magnitude quake hit Lombok, killing 17 people and damaging hundreds of buildings. It triggered landslides that briefly trapped trekkers on popular mountain hiking routes. Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide and many of the world’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

In 2004 a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in western Indonesia killed 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia.

(AFP with additional reporting TTR Weekly)

© Agence France-Presse

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