Death toll rises as 6.4-magnitude earthquake hits tourist island near Bali

Article By: Niniek Karmini & Ali Kotarumalos, Associated Press

At least 14 people have been killed and another 160 injured after a magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck Indonesia’s Lombok Island, a popular tourist destination next to Bali, officials said. Sunday’s earthquake damaged dozens of single-storey houses and taller buildings and was felt in a wider area, including in Bali, where no damage or casualties were reported. The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 4.4 miles.

East Lombok district was the hardest hit with eight deaths, including a Malaysian national, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency. The number of casualties could increase as data was still being collected from other locations on the island, he said.

A man inspects the damage caused by the earthquake (Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency via AP)

The tremor also triggered a large landslide from Mount Rinjani. Authorities were still monitoring its impact.

In East Lombok and the provincial capital of Mataram, the earthquake lasted about 10 seconds, sending residents fleeing from their homes onto streets and fields, Mr Nugroho said. He said most of the fatalities and injuries were caused by falling slabs of concrete.

Photos released by the agency showed damaged houses and the entrance to the popular Mount Rinjani National Park, which was immediately closed for fear of landslides.

Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees. Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive 9.1-magnitude earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.


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