Hope fades for survivors in Indonesia quake with 131 killed

10 August, 2018, 07:26 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Foreign tourists wait for transportation after arriving from the nearby Gili islands at the port in Bangsal northern Lombok island on August 6. ─ AFP

"On behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, we expressed our honest condolences to the government and people of Indonesia on the quake that occurred in that country".

The death toll from last weekend's powerful quake on Indonesia's Lombok island rose to 131 on Wednesday as rescuers found more people crushed under collapsed buildings, though some still held out hope of finding survivors.

It's three days now since that quake ravaged the northern region of Lombok and rescuers continue to despair at the lack of response from beneath the rubble of so many buildings across the north of the island. By nightfall they were pulling out, saying other areas, including another collapsed mosque, needed their heavy equipment and workers more urgently.

"We don't know for sure how many people are alive under the rubble", Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) told reporters in Jakarta.

Tourism operators sleeping in the gardens of the hotels they run on the Indonesian island of Lombok are urging travellers not to be scared off by Sunday's deadly quake.

Aid organizations, already on Lombok following last week's 6.4 quake said they were stepping up their humanitarian efforts.

It was the second deadly quake in a week to hit Lombok, after a July 29 quake killed 16 people and damaged hundreds of houses, some of which collapsed on Sunday.

The island is popular with tourists and now about 1,000 foreign visitors have been evacuated to nearby islands.




The family are said to have been staying around 60 miles from the epicentre after arriving on Lombok the previous day.

More than 20,000 people are believed to have been made homeless by the latest quake, with 105 killed and 236 severely injured, officials said Tuesday.

"The driver asked us to get off in the water and we had to swim to the shore". The islets are renowned for their crystal clear waters that draw snorkelers and divers from all over the world.

But with not enough boats to evacuate tourists quickly and too few planes to fly them out of Lombok, many visitors were forced to wait for hours or camp on beaches and the floor of the global airport in Mataram.

Indonesia is defined by string of volatile volcanoes stretching for thousands of miles, as it is situated on the so-called Ring of Fire around the Pacific.

Still, government assistance was barely a trickle in the west Lombok village of Kekait where Zulas Triani, an elementary school teacher who was sharing a tent with 30 others, said they had received only a basket with three noodle packets, five eggs and a small ration of water. An AP reporter saw one body recovered Tuesday. But officials said they would have to resume their search for the body there at first light Wednesday.

"We were all anxious of a tsunami hitting the whole night, people were climbing up trees and locals were screaming and praying", Scott said. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 natural disaster off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

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