Wednesday, December 12, 2018 | ePaper

Tourist exodus from Lombok as quake toll hits 105

  • Print


Indonesian rescuers search through the rubble of a mosque in North Lombok that collapsed in Sunday's quake.

AFP, Mataram :
Terrified holidaymakers rushed for boats and planes to leave Indonesia's Lombok island Tuesday after it suffered a second deadly quake within a week, as rescuers scrambled to reach remote areas where survivors are in urgent need of food and shelter.
The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake killed at least 105 people and destroyed thousands of buildings in Lombok on Sunday, just days after another deadly tremor surged through the holiday island and killed 17.
Rescuers on Tuesday resumed the desperate search for survivors, and to recover the bodies of victims in the rubble of houses, mosques and schools destroyed in the latest disaster. More than 20,000 people are believed to have been made homeless on Lombok, with 236 severely injured, and authorities have appealed for more medical personnel and basic supplies.
The tremor struck as evening prayers were being held across the Muslim-majority island.
Emergency crews using heavy equipment to search through a collapsed mosque in northern Lombok found three bodies but also managed to pull one man alive from the twisted wreckage.
Video posted online by disaster officials showed the man sobbing with relief as one rescuer told him: "You're safe sir, you're safe".
Authorities said they feared the mosque - now educed to a pile of concrete and metal bars, its towering green dome folded in on itself - had been filled with worshippers.
"We estimate there are still more victims because we found many sandals in front of the mosque," national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters.
He said major building collapses had also taken place at a "health clinic, government offices and other public facilities."
Some 4,600 tourists have been evacuated from the Gili Islands, three tiny,
coral-fringed tropical islands that lie off the northwest coast of Lombok and
are popular with backpackers and divers.
Hundreds crowded onto its powder-white beaches on Monday, desperately awaiting transport off the normally paradise destination. Two holidaymakers died on the largest of the three, Gili Trawangan, where buildings suffered extensive damage. Authorities said an earlier toll of seven dead was incorrect.
French tourist Laurent Smadja, who had been on Gilli Meno, the smallest of the three islands, described scenes of chaos and confusion in the aftermath of the quake as holidaymakers jostled to leave.
"We had no electricity and no information about what to do. We saw everybody leaving in boats but no boat came to us," he told AFP.
On Tuesday he eventually managed to board a boat with locals and head to nearby Lombok. He made his way to the airport, where hundreds of holidaymakers slept on the floor overnight awaiting flights out.
"There's a massive rush of people wanting to get out of Lombok because of unfounded rumours, such as of a tsunami," Muhammad Faozal, the head of the tourism agency in West Nusa Tenggara province, told AFP.
"We can help tourists to get to the airport but of course we can't buy them tickets for free," he said, adding that authorities were providing free accommodation, food and transport to those in need.
Lombok airport's general manager said airlines had laid on extra flights and that his staff had been providing stranded passengers with blankets and snacks.
"We have been doing our best to manage the tourists flocking the airport," he told AFP. "We are doing our best so we can fly out as many as possible."
Immigration authorities said that seven foreigners were injured in the quake and are being treated in hospital.

More News For this Category

Ex US senators warn of `constitutional crisis` under Trump

Ex US senators warn of `constitutional crisis` under Trump

AP, Washington :Forty-four former US Senators from both major US parties warned Monday of threats to US democracy under President Donald Trump, and a "constitutional crisis" for America.They said the

Modi stares at biggest election loss since coming to power

Modi stares at biggest election loss since coming to power

Reuters, New Delhi :India's ruling party could lose power in three key states, four TV networks said on Tuesday, citing votecount leads, potentially handing Prime Minister Narendra Modi his biggest

EU offers new Brexit deal clarity, won't renegotiate: Juncker

EU offers new Brexit deal clarity, won't renegotiate: Juncker

Reuters, Strasbourg  :The European Union is willing to give Britain further clarifications on its Brexit deal but will not renegotiate the treaty or its protocol on the Irish border, EU

China warns against 'bullying' of its citizens

China warns against 'bullying' of its citizens

AFP, Beijing :China's foreign minister warned Tuesday against the "bullying" of any Chinese citizen, amid a diplomatic fracas over the arrest of a Huawei executive on a US warrant in

Trillions of dollars paid in bribes, stolen through corruption every year: UN

Trillions of dollars paid in bribes, stolen through corruption every year: UN

PTI, United Nations: Trillions of dollars - equivalent to more than five per cent of global GDP - are paid in bribes or stolen through corruption every year, according to

News in brief

Japan to ramp up defense spending Reuters, Tokyo Japan aims to boost defense spending over the next five years to help pay for new stealth fighters and other advanced U.S.

'I can't breathe' were Khashoggi's final words, report says

'I can't breathe' were Khashoggi's final words, report says

Jamal Khashoggi's final words were "I can't breathe," CNN said Sunday, citing a source who has read the transcript of an audio tape of the final moments before the journalist's

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

AP, Washington :Top House Democrats have raised the prospect of impeachment or the real possibility of prison time for President Donald Trump if it's proved that he directed illegal hush-money

Indian state elections could halt Modi's winning streak

Indian state elections could halt Modi's winning streak

Reuters, New Delhi :Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is staring at election losses in big heartland states, polls show, suggesting that farm distress and a lack of jobs for growing

May pushes Brexit deal as EU court offers way out

May pushes Brexit deal as EU court offers way out

"Nothing is off the table" when it comes to reassuring MPs over the Northern Ireland backstop, Downing Street sources say.This could include reopening the EU withdrawal agreement, even though that