MATARAM (Indonesia) • At least 10 people were killed in powerful quakes that rocked the Indonesian holiday island of Lombok, the authorities said yesterday, in a fresh blow just weeks after earlier tremors left hundreds dead and thousands more homeless.
The latest quakes struck on Sunday, with the first measuring 6.3 in magnitude shortly before midday. It triggered landslides and sent people fleeing for cover as parts of Lombok suffered blackouts. It was followed nearly 12 hours later by a 6.9-magnitude quake and a string of powerful aftershocks.
The picturesque island next to holiday hot spot Bali was already reeling from two deadly quakes on July 29 and Aug 5 that killed nearly 500 people.
Ten people were killed in the strong quake on Sunday evening, mostly by falling debris, including six people on the neighbouring island of Sumbawa, according to the national disaster agency.
Two more Lombok residents died of heart attacks after the morning quake, while some two dozen people were injured and more than 150 homes and places of worship were damaged, the agency said.
Tens of thousands of homes, mosques and businesses across Lombok had already been destroyed by the earthquake earlier this month.
Most people caught in the latest tremor were outside their homes or at shelters when the latest quake struck, which kept the number of casualties low, said National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, adding: "The trauma because of the earlier quake on Sunday (morning) made people prefer to stay outside."
Mr Sutopo said yesterday that relief and reconstruction efforts have been "intensified", including the rebuilding of public facilities like hospitals and schools.
Aid agencies vowed to boost humanitarian assistance on the island as devastated residents struggled in makeshift displacement camps.
Video images from an evacuation camp in Lombok showed children and adults taking cover inside makeshift tents.
"The population feels like it's had the rug pulled from under them with this new quake," said Ms Caroline Haga, a humanitarian and emergency communications specialist with the Red Cross.
Sunday's tremors were also felt on Bali but there were no reports of damage there.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE