Lombok quake: Challenge to recover dead after Indonesia island disaster

Lombok quake: Challenge to recover dead after Indonesia island disaster

Alimuddin's ordeal underlines the chaotic scenes across Lombok, a volcanic island to the east of Bali, after the shallow 6.9-magnitude quake struck Sunday evening.

The Indonesian military said that three Hercules transporter planes packed with much-needed food, medication, blankets, tents and water tanks have now arrived in Lombok.

Maple Ridge residents Jen Montgomery-Lay, her husband and their two kids were on the island of Lombok when the 7.0-magnitude quake struck, flattening buildings and collapsing bridges.

Damage was "massive" in mountainous northern Lombok, where the quake was centered, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Despite it being a popular tourist destination, no foreigners were recorded among the dead, BNPB spokesman Mr Nugroho told a news conference. "The impact is always less than you would expect", said Oli Christen, owner of Freedive Flow free-diving school on Gili Air, citing the challenges when Bali's sacred volcano, Mount Agung, erupted.

Almost 2,500 people have been hospitalized with serious injuries and more than 156,000 people are displaced due to the extensive damage to homes.

"We're forced to deal with broken bones in the traditional way at home because the hospital had to deal with hundreds of other injuries", said Budhiawan, the head of Lading-Lading village.

Muhammad Zainul Majdi, the governor of West Nusa Tenggara province which covers Lombok, said there was a dire need for medical staff, food and medicine in the worst-hit areas.

He added that 80 per cent of buildings had been damaged or destroyed, with thousands displaced.

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Officials said more than 2,000 people were evacuated from the Gili Islands on Monday.

"Where should we go if we have no house anymore, nowhere to live?"

"Before the natural disaster we employed 240 staff: that's 240 families who depend on the business of the hotel to actually live", said Stephane Servin, owner of The Santosa Villas and Resort in the beachfront district of Senggigi, who will have to close for around eight months to rebuild.

The Straits Times saw an excavator digging through the rubble of the mosque as anxious villagers looked on, hoping that people were still alive under the ruins.

Officials said about 4,600 foreign and domestic tourists had been evacuated from the three Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, where two people died and fears of a tsunami spread soon after the quake.

A mother bath her daughter in a bucket after their home in Sembalun Bumbung was destroyed by the Lombok natural disaster.

Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains.

The shocks Sunday followed a 6.4 -magnitude quake on July 29, leaving emergency crews to deal with the fallout of two massive disasters just seven days apart. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Evacuees in some encampments say they are running out of food, while others are suffering psychological trauma after the 6.9-magnitude quake, which struck just a week after another tremor surged through the island and killed 17.

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