Lombok hit by fourth major quake in three weeks

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake earlier yesterday, centred in East Lombok, destroyed homes and sent people fleeing into the streets.
A 6.3-magnitude earthquake earlier yesterday, centred in East Lombok, destroyed homes and sent people fleeing into the streets.PHOTO: SUTOPO PURWO NUGROHO/ TWITTER

LOMBOK • A strong earthquake rocked Indonesia's Lombok island last night, two weeks after a quake killed more than 480 people and hours after another tremor triggered landslides, damaged buildings and sent people fleeing.

The magnitude-6.9 quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 20km, about 5km south of Belanting town in East Lombok, according to the US Geological Survey.

No tsunami warning was issued.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the latest quake, which struck in the same district as the magnitude-6.3 earlier yesterday.

But a local resident said the powerful tremor jolted him awake. "The earthquake was incredibly strong. Everything was shaking," said Mr Agus Salim.

"We were all sleeping in an evacuation tent. I had just fallen asleep when suddenly it started to shake... Everyone ran into the street screaming and crying."

The area was hit by a power blackout, he added.

Landslides were reported earlier yesterday in Mount Rinjani National Park where hundreds of hikers were trapped after a quake last month. The park has been closed since then.

"The earthquake caused people to panic and flee their houses," National Disaster Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told Metro TV. "There have been no reports of death or (serious) damage but people are traumatised."

The latest tremors come two weeks after a shallow magnitude-7 quake on Aug 5 damaged tens of thousands of homes, mosques and businesses across Lombok. At least 481 people died and thousands were injured.

 
 

The economic toll of that quake is estimated to be at least five trillion rupiah (S$470 million).

The hardest-hit region was in the north of the island, which has suffered hundreds of aftershocks.

A week before that quake, on July 29, a magnitude-6.4 tremor surged through the island and killed 17 people.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2018, with the headline 'Lombok hit by fourth major quake in three weeks'. Print Edition | Subscribe