A man inspects a village destroyed by a strong earthquake in Kayangan, Lombok Island, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (Photos: AP)
A powerful earthquake flattened houses and toppled bridges on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing at least 98 people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities said Monday that rescuers still hadn’t reached some devastated areas and the death toll would climb.
It was the second deadly quake in a week to hit Lombok. A July 29 quake killed 16 people and damaged hundreds of houses, some of which collapsed in Sunday evening’s magnitude 7.0 temblor, killing those inside.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference that damage was “massive” in northern Lombok. In several districts, more than half the homes were destroyed or severely damaged.
In this photo released by the Indonesian Marine Police, tourists affected by a strong earthquake line up on a beach as they wait to be evacuated on Gili Trawangan Island, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018.
The ruins of a mosque that collapsed in Lading-Lading village while people prayed inside was being pulled apart by a backhoe in search of victims.
Some areas still hadn’t been reached as of midafternoon, with rescuers battling collapsed bridges, electricity and communication blackouts and damaged roads blocked with debris.
Nugroho said the death toll had risen to 98, after warning earlier that it would “definitely increase.” More than 230 people were seriously injured. Thousands of homes and buildings were damaged and 20,000 people were in temporary shelters.
The quake, measured at magnitude 7.0 by Indonesian authorities and 6.9 by the U.S. Geological Survey, struck at a shallow depth of 10.5 kilometers in the northern part of Lombok. Shallow quakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.
Tourists walk through the streets as they leave an area heavily damaged by the earthquake in Tanjung, Lombok Island, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018.
The quake triggered a tsunami warning, and frightened people poured out of their homes to move to higher ground, particularly in North Lombok and Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province. The warning was lifted later Sunday after only small waves were recorded.
On Gili Trawangan, one of three popular vacation islands near Lombok, thousands of tourists and local residents spent the night on a hill fearing a tsunami, said British visitor Saffron Amis.
“There was a lot of screaming and crying, particularly from the locals,” said Amis, from Brighton. “We spoke to a lot of them and they were panicking about their family in Lombok. It was just a lot of panic because no one knew what was happening.”
Thousands of people are now trying to get off the island, she said, describing the mood as both somber and panicked.
Hundreds of people packed a sliver of brilliant white beach on the 16-square kilometer island, shouting at rescue personnel trying to ensure an orderly evacuation, video and photos supplied by the local water police showed.
Workers remove the debris at a building damaged by an earthquake in Bali, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018.
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 because of its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.