Vietnam Time

7/29/2018 6:32:03 PM

At least 14 dead after magnitude 6.4 quake hits Indonesia's Lombok island

At least 14 people are dead and 162 injured after a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake on Sunday (Jul 29) struck the popular tourist destination of Lombok in Indonesia, the country's disaster mitigation agency said.

A shallow 6.4-magnitude quake struck the Indonesian island of Lombok on Jul 29, the United States Geological Survey said. (Photo: AFP / Nusa Tenggara Barat Disaster Mitigation Agency)

Spokesman for the agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said thousands of homes were damaged and that there have been 124 aftershocks as of 2pm local time.

However, he ruled out the possibility of a tsunami.

"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 victims, he said, adding those hurt were hit by debris.

The earthquake struck at 6.47am on Sunday and was only 7km deep, a shallow depth that would have amplified its effect, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The quake, which was quickly followed by an aftershock of magnitude 5.4 in the same area in eastern Indonesia, was centered in the northern part of the island, 49.5km northeast of the city of Mataram.

The quake on Sunday, Jul 29, 2018. (Map: USGS)

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake is considered strong and is capable of causing severe damage.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), the European quake agency, put the magnitude at 6.5.

No tsunami alert was issued, said Hary Tirto Djatmiko, spokesman for Indonesia's geophysics and meteorology agency.

Lombok lies around 100km east of the resort island of Bali.

East Lombok Regency suffered the worst impact with 10 fatalities and 67 injured. About a thousand homes were also damaged.

North Lombok registered four deaths with about 38 people seriously wounded, and 273 homes damaged. A total of 6,237 families have been affected by the earthquake.

There are also several reports of house damage in West Lombok District, West Sumbawa Regency and Mataram City.

Nugroho posted on Twitter pictures of houses with collapsed roofs and walls.

The Regional Disaster Management Authority and several other agencies have distributed food, mineral water, evacuee tents and food.

The authorities are currently in need of medical personnel, stretchers, health equipment, quick meals as well as necessities for children.

The quake may have also impacted Mount Rinjani national park, a popular trekking destination.

"Rinjani mountain climbing is closed temporarily because there are indication of landslide around the mountain," Nugroho, said in a statement.

Authorities are currently evacuating climbers from Mount Rinjani. According to official data from Mount Rinjani National Park Office, there are 826 climbers, both foreign and domestic tourists.

Local news Metro TV reported that people were still sleeping when the first quake hit and they quickly fled their houses in panic. Most of the people were still waiting outside their houses in fear of aftershocks, Metro TV said.

"We jumped out of our beds to avoid anything falling on our heads," said Jean-Paul Volckaert who was woken by the quake while sleeping in the Puncak Hotel near Senggigi on Lombok island.

"I’ve been walking around but so far there is no damage. We were very surprised as the water in the pools was swaying like a wild sea. There were waves in the pools but only for 20 to 30 seconds," he told Reuters via telephone.

At the holiday island's hotels, tourists raced outside as the quake struck soon after dawn.

In Katamaran Hotel & Resort in Senggigi beach, some 30 guests gathered in the hotel lobby for around half an hour before venturing back to their rooms.

"They calmed down and returned to their room once we explained the earthquake did not trigger a tsunami, everything is back to normal now," receptionist Ni Nyoman Suwarningsih told AFP.

Indonesia, an archipelago of thousands of islands, sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismic activity hotspot.

It is frequently hit by quakes, most of them harmless. However, the region remains acutely alert to tremors that might trigger tsunamis.

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./.

VNF/AFP  
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