JAKARTA/LOMBOK - More than 20,000 people have been displaced across Indonesia’s resort island of Lombok, following a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit West Nusa Tenggara on Sunday (Aug 5) evening, which has killed nearly 100 people and injured more than 230.
The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said at a press conference that the death toll is expected to rise as officials are still collecting data.
"Officers from a joint search and rescue team have yet to reach all areas in Lombok, particularly the most heavily-damaged area," he said, referring to North Lombok Regency, home to famous tourist destinations Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno.
The area has seen the highest number of casualties - at least 72 deaths and 64 people injured.
As of Monday, about 20,000 people have been moved to unaffected areas of Lombok, according to BNPB.
A team comprising Indonesian military forces and other rescuers is sending logistical aid to people affected by the latest disaster.
Three C-130 Hercules aircrafts have been deployed to deliver medicines, tents and other healthcare aid. Two helicopters have also been deployed to help in emergency management.
Besides local residents, tourists - both domestic and foreign - have also been evacuated by the search and rescue team, Mr Sutopo said.
As of Monday afternoon, around 2,700 tourists have been evacuated from the three Gilis os islands.
Mr Sutopo added that a number of hotels were damaged as a result of the quake and there were fears that there might be aftershocks.
He added that electricity in the most-affected areas of North Lombok Regency and East Lombok Regency has been cut off. Telecommunication networks are not working and three bridges have been damaged.
These are hindering the evacuation process, he said.
The Indonesian authorities are aware of travel warnings issued by several countries, including Singapore, Mr Sutopo said, but added that Jakarta has yet to issue any recommendation for tourists to leave Lombok.
"Gili is safe and people are not required to leave," Mr Sutopo said. "The 7-magnitude earthquake was the main shock. There will be hundreds of smaller quakes to come."
But further big earthquakes in the near term are unlikely, he said.
Mr Nyoman Siang, a spokesman for Lombok International Airport said they were adding five flights, including two Garuda flights, on Monday night to accommodate an exodus of passengers wanting to leave earlier.
On Monday night, Ms Ina Ripken, a German tourist, told The Straits Times that she feels safer staying at the Lombok airport and has decided to spend the next two nights there.
The high school graduate, who is travelling alone, had arrived in Lombok from Bali half an hour before the quake struck at 6.46pm local time on Sunday. She had arrived in Bali on July 29, six hours before the earlier quake struck Lombok.
“We went ahead by bus after Sunday’s quake towards the north to enjoy the beach but, on the way, people told us that the north was destroyed. So we turned back towards Mataram city... We slept outside the Aston hotel,” she said. Mataram is the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province.
Mr Johardi, 62, a resident of Tanak Song village in North Lombok - the worst-hit by the quake - said his wife broke both her legs and her right arm after she was knocked down by a collapsing wall of a neighbour's house. His wife Aminah is being treated at a provincial hospital in Mataram.
"The earthquake struck and everything was suddenly dark, and my wife was down on the ground and got stepped on by neighbours who were rushing out in panic," Mr Johardi told ST on Monday night.
Mr Maliki, 40, a resident of Cilinaya in East Mataram said: "We still feel aftershocks from time to time. We feel safer sleeping outside."
The hospital in North Lombok was so badly damaged by the quake that patients have to be transferred to hospitals in Mataram.
Dr Mohammad Rizki, a local pathologist, told ST on Monday night that two hospital ships had been dispatched to Lombok.
“My colleagues have been doing back-to-back surgery since morning. Most cases involved head injuries and broken bones. The whole West Nusa Tenggara province has only two neurosurgeons and not many orthopaedic surgeons. More neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons from Surabaya, Jakarta, Makassar and Yogyakarta are coming to Mataram today.”
During the previous quake on July 29, the Indonesian government recommended tourists to leave volcano Mount Rinjani.
Mr Sutopo noted that Sunday's quake did not increase the activities of both Mount Rinjani in Lombok and Mount Agung in Bali.
Indonesia's tourism ministry has activated a crisis team to mitigate the impact of the earthquake, he added.
Officials estimated that material losses from the damage to houses and infrastructure caused by the two quakes could exceed Rp1 trillion (S$94.4 million).