Death Toll in Sunday's Lombok Earthquake Rises to 91


AUGUST 06, 2018

Jakarta. At least 91 people have died and thousands have been displaced after another powerful earthquake hit Lombok Island in West Nusa Tenggara on Sunday evening (05/08).

The magnitude-7 quake, which occurred at 6.46 p.m., struck at a depth of 15 kilometers on the northeast slope of Mount Rinjani, roughly the same area where a 6.4-magnitude quake occurred last week, according to the National Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

The agency said Sunday's quake was the main event in a series of tremors and that only lower-intensity aftershocks are expected from now on.

The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) reported that 89 of the victims died on Lombok Island and two on nearby Bali Island. All were Indonesian citizens. The agency expects the number of victims to rise as search and rescue operations continue.

"Most of the victims died after being struck by collapsing buildings," BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Many of the injured are being treated outside health centers and hospitals due to structural damage to these buildings.

Patients were forced to spend the night outside Mataram Hospital in Lombok on Sunday amid fears that aftershocks may cause the building to collapse. (Antara Photo/Ahmad Subaidi)

"The main focus at this time is the search, rescue and assistance to people affected by the earthquake and fulfillment of basic needs. Current urgent needs are medical personnel, clean water, food, blankets, mats, tents, instant food and trauma healing services," Sutopo said. The BNPB dispatched two helicopters to Lombok to help with the search and rescue efforts.

The Indonesian Military (TNI) has dispatched a hospital ship to Lombok and deployed a medical battalion in the area on Monday.

"They bring all the necessary equipment, such as field tents, field kitchens and more," the head of the TNI, Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, said in a statement.

West Nusa Tenggara Governor Zainul Majdi said the local government has decided to extend a state of emergency imposed last week until Saturday and close schools and public offices to allow for building inspections.

Disaster mitigation teams are currently focusing their efforts on North and East Lombok districts, both of which are still without electricity and access to the cellphone network.

"I also instructed all health workers on the island of Lombok to sign in and work to ensure that maximum health care services are provided," Zainul said.

I Made Suprateka, a spokesman for Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), said the state utility company is sending personnel and equipment from East Java and Bali to help restore power in East and North Lombok.

Lombok International Airport suffered little damage and reopened on Monday morning, but national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia said several of its flights may be delayed.