More than 2,000 tourists evacuated after Indonesia quake kills 98

11:26 | 07/08/2018

Indonesia on Monday (Aug 6) sent rescuers fanning out across the holiday island of Lombok and evacuated more than 2,000 tourists after a powerful earthquake killed at least 98 people and damaged thousands of buildings.

more than 2000 tourists evacuated after indonesia quake kills 98
Hospitals on Lombok were also hit hard by the quake, with doctors forced to tend to patients outside AFP/ADEK BERRY

The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake sparked terror among tourists and locals alike, coming just a week after another deadly tremor surged through Lombok and killed 17 people.

Rescuers used diggers and heavy machinery to clear debris and search for survivors on Monday.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said it expected the death toll to rise once the rubble of more than 13,000 flattened and damaged houses was cleared away.

Power and communications were severed in some areas, with landslides and a collapsed bridge blocking access to areas around the quake epicentre in the north - forcing rescue teams to bring in the heavy machinery.

The military said it would send a ship with medical aid, supplies and logistics support.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said there were fears a number of people were trapped in the ruins of a collapsed mosque in the northern village of Lading-Lading. Footage he posted on Twitter showed the large concrete mosque had pancaked.

Shattered roads were hampering efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north and east of the island, which had been hardest hit.

Najmul Akhyar, the head of North Lombok district, estimated that 80 per cent of that region was damaged by the quake.

"We expect the number of fatalities to keep rising," Nugroho said. "All victims who died are Indonesians."

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

He said up to 20,000 people may have had to quit their homes on Lombok and paramedics, food and medication were badly needed.

The spokesman said search and rescue teams also rescued between 2,000 and 2,700 tourists from the Gili Islands, three tiny, coral-fringed tropical islands a few kilometres off the northwest coast of Lombok.

Michelle Thompson, an American holidaying on one of the Gilis, described a "scramble" to get on boats leaving for the main island during which her husband was injured.

"People were just throwing their suitcases on board and I had to struggle to get my husband on, because he was bleeding," she said.

Footage posted online by Nugroho showed hundreds crowded onto powder-white beaches desperately awaiting transport off the normally paradise Gilis.

"We cannot evacuate all of them all at once because we don't have enough capacity on the boats," Muhammad Faozal, the head of the tourism agency in West Nusa Tenggara province, told AFP, adding two navy vessels were on their way.

"It's understandable they want to leave the Gilis, they are panicking."

By early afternoon, hundreds of weary tourists had arrived with their baggage at Bangsal harbour, the main link between Lombok and the Gilis.

Margret Helgadottir, a holidaymaker from Iceland, described people screaming as the roof of her hotel on one of the islands collapsed.

"We just froze: thankfully we were outside," she told AFP tearfully from a harbour in Lombok to where she had been evacuated. "Everything went black, it was terrible."

Seven Indonesian holidaymakers died on the largest of the three islands, Gili Trawangan, while another local woman died on nearby Bali.

NIGHT OF AFTERSHOCKS

But it was Lombok which bore the brunt of Sunday evening's quake.

The shallow tremor sent thousands of residents and tourists scrambling outdoors, where many spent the night as strong aftershocks including one of 5.3-magnitude rattled the island.

The Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) said more than 120 aftershocks were recorded after Sunday evening's quake.

The quake knocked out power in many areas and parts of Lombok remained without electricity on Monday.

Hundreds of bloodied and bandaged victims were treated outside damaged hospitals in the main city of Mataram and other hard-hit areas.

Patients lay on beds under wards set up in tents, surrounded by drip stands and monitors, as doctors in blue scrubs attended to them.

Among the devastation, the Indonesian Red Cross said on Twitter it had helped a woman give birth at a health post after the quake. One of the names she gave the baby boy was "Gempa", which means earthquake.

Anguished relatives were huddled around loved ones in front of the main clinic in Mataram, as medical staff struggled to cope with hundreds of patients. Many were yet to be attended to despite spending the night out in the open.

"I feel restless sleeping in a tent, I can't be at peace," Nurhayati told AFP outside one hospital where she had brought her sick 70-year-old mother.

"What we really need now are paramedics, we are short-staffed. We also need medications," Supriadi, a spokesman for Mataram general hospital, told AFP.

Singapore's Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, who was in Lombok for a security conference when the earthquake struck, described on Facebook how his hotel room on the 10th floor shook violently.

"Walls cracked, it was quite impossible to stand up," he said.

American model Chrissy Teigen, who is in Bali with her children and singer husband John Legend, live-tweeted the quake.

"Bali. Trembling. So long," she told her 10.6 million followers.

"We are safe, up high and nothing around us. Thinking about everyone around us and in Lombok especially," she added.

The main tourist areas of Lombok in the south and west of the island appear to have been spared the worst of the damage.

Lombok's beaches and hiking trails draw holidaymakers from around the world.

But some afraid tourists were already trying to leave.

A French tourist, who gave his name as Jina, told local broadcaster Metro TV, he had tried to rush to Lombok's main airport.

"But there was no taxi, no transport, no plan for evacuation."

"Later I stopped a car and I asked a local please take me and my family to the airport and he said 'okay no problem'."

"THIS IS IT FOR ME IN INDONESIA"

Long lines formed at the airport of Lombok's main town, Mataram, as foreign visitors cut their holidays short.

The Garuda Indonesia airline said it was adding extra flights from Lombok to help tourists leave.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted that the budget airline would try to lay on extra flights, while Indonesian budget carriers Lion Air and Citilink said there had been a jump in demand for outbound flights from Lombok and Bali.

"I was at the rooftop of my hotel and the building started swaying very hard. It felt like two metres to the left, then two metres to the right, I could not stand up," said Gino Poggiali, a 43-year-old Frenchman, who was with his wife and two children, at the Lombok airport.

His wife Maude, 44, said the family were on Bali for the first quake and Lombok for the second.

"This is it for me in Indonesia," she said. "Next time we will stay in France or somewhere close."

Carlos Romartinez, a 24-year-old Spaniard who was also waiting for a flight out of Lombok, said he had decided to head instead to the island of Flores to the east.

"All the activities are shut down. We can't dive, we can't do anything so we will go to another island," he said.

Dutch tourist Marc Ganbuwalba injured his knee as a stampede of diners rushed from a restaurant after the quake.

"We are cutting short our holiday because I can't walk and we're just not in the mood anymore, more in the mood to see our loved ones," said the 26-year-old, sitting on a trolley with his leg bandaged.

"We are just thankful to god and also to the hotel staff who really helped us. Some of them said their own houses had been destroyed but they were still helping us."

Most of the victims in the latest disaster died in the north and east of Lombok. Thousands of people were evacuated to outside shelters.

Bali's international airport suffered damage to its terminal but the runway was unaffected and operations had returned to normal. Disaster agency officials said. Lombok airport was also operating.

Indonesia, one of the world's most disaster-prone nations, straddles the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and many of the world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

In 2014, a devastating 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.

Copyright by https://www.vir.com.vn/