Lombok earthquake

Death toll rises as rescuers step up search for survivors

ST VIDEO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA
Rescuers working to remove debris at the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosque. Villagers had just performed their evening prayer on Sunday when the earthquake struck, causing the mosque to collapse. A body being removed from the rubble of the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosqu
Rescuers working to remove debris at the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosque. Villagers had just performed their evening prayer on Sunday when the earthquake struck, causing the mosque to collapse. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Rescuers working to remove debris at the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosque. Villagers had just performed their evening prayer on Sunday when the earthquake struck, causing the mosque to collapse. A body being removed from the rubble of the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosqu
A body being removed from the rubble of the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosque in Karang Pansor village, North Lombok, yesterday. Rescue efforts have been hampered by a shortage of heavy-lifting equipment, while hundreds of aftershocks continue to shake the island following Sunday's earthquake.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Above: A man praying inside a mosque in Tanjung, in North Lombok, yesterday. Many buildings have been badly damaged or destroyed in the region. Left: Villagers using scarves to mask the smell after a body was retrieved from the ruins of the Jami'ul J
Above: Villagers using scarves to mask the smell after a body was retrieved from the ruins of the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosque.PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Rescuers working to remove debris at the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosque. Villagers had just performed their evening prayer on Sunday when the earthquake struck, causing the mosque to collapse. A body being removed from the rubble of the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosqu
Above: A man praying inside a mosque in Tanjung, in North Lombok, yesterday. Many buildings have been badly damaged or destroyed in the region. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Officials appeal for more aid after quake leaves thousands homeless, with 156,000 evacuated or placed in shelters

The sun had set and the villagers had just performed their evening prayer at the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosque in Karang Pansor village, in North Lombok, when the ground beneath them moved violently on Sunday.

Some 65 hours later, the first of the bodies was brought out by rescuers searching for survivors.

Personnel from Indonesia's search-and-rescue agency Basarnas, soldiers and rescue teams from private mining companies were still searching through the flattened remains of the mosque yesterday.

The Straits Times saw an excavator digging through the rubble as anxious villagers looked on, hoping that people were still alive underneath the debris.

Mr Sardi Amin from Basarnas told The Straits Times: "We will continue to evacuate the victims until no one is left under there."

Officials on the ground have appealed for more aid as the scale of the disaster becomes clearer.

Thousands were made homeless and more than 156,000 people were evacuated or placed in shelters, particularly in the north of the island near the epicentre of the quake.

RESCUE WORK FACING OBSTACLES

The efforts to evacuate people have been intensified, but there are still a lot of problems on the ground.

MR SUTOPO PURWO NUGROHO, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.

Rescuers yesterday retrieved the body of a woman from the rubble of the mosque, but more victims were believed to be inside.

In a separate part of North Lombok on Tuesday, rescuers in Lading-Lading village pulled out a few bodies and one survivor from the collapsed Jabbal Nur mosque.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by a shortage of heavy-lifting equipment such as excavators and hundreds of aftershocks that continued to shake the island following Sunday's magnitude-7 earthquake.

The death toll has risen to 381, and 1,033 people have been severely injured, said the Indonesian Armed Forces.

"The number of victims keeps rising," National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spo-kesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters yesterday. He added that more than 42,000 houses had collapsed.

There are fears that the death toll will keep going up, even as rescuers step up their search at damaged or destroyed homes, schools and mosques.

The quake also affected parts of neighbouring Bali.

"The efforts to evacuate people have been intensified, but there are still a lot of problems on the ground," said Mr Sutopo.

Lombok Island forms part of West Nusa Tenggara province. Provincial Governor Zainul Majdi told The Straits Times on Tuesday that excavators and heavy equipment were being deployed to the affected areas.

He said there was an urgent need for medical staff, food and medicine in the worst-hit areas.

Injured victims have been treated outside damaged hospitals in the main city of Mataram and other badly affected areas.

"The scale of this quake is massive for us here in West Nusa Tenggara; this is our first experience," Mr Zainul told Agence France-Presse.

Mr Hendry Achmad, a rescuer from Berau Coal who was helping out at the Jami'ul Jama'ah mosque, which collapsed like a house of cards, said that in such cases, the chances of survival are slim because there are few, if any, spaces for survivors to take refuge.

The quake also affected tourists. A total of 8,381 tourists, locals and workers of hotels and resorts on the three Gili islands - Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno - had been evacuated as of late Tuesday afternoon, BNPB said.

The Gilis are just off the north-west coast of Lombok.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2018, with the headline 'Death toll rises as rescuers step up search for survivors'. Print Edition | Subscribe