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Multiple quakes hits Indonesia’s lombok island, killing 10

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A series of powerful earthquakes have rocked the Indonesian holiday island of Lombok, killing at least 10 people and setting off fresh waves of panic after nearly 500 died there following a huge tremor two weeks ago.

The quakes hit throughout Sunday, with the first measuring 6.3 shortly before midday which triggered landslides and sent people fleeing for cover as parts of the island suffered blackouts.

It was followed nearly 12 hours later by a quake measuring 6.9 magnitude and a string of powerful aftershocks.

The picturesque island next to holiday hotspot Bali was already reeling from two deadly quakes on July 29 and August 5 that left hundreds of thousands homeless.

Ten people were killed in the quake Sunday evening, mostly by falling debris, with four deaths in eastern Lombok and six on the neighbouring island of Sumbawa, according to the national disaster agency.

One local resident said the powerful tremor jolted him awake.

“The earthquake was incredibly strong. Everything was shaking,” Agus Salim told AFP.

“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.”

A dozen foreign guests at the hotel Lina Senggigi, which is in a popular tourist spot, were ushered out of the building as the quake struck.

“The jolt was strong and quite long… Tonight we will ask our guests to sleep in the parking lot. It’s safer that way,” a staff member told Kompas TV.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho tweeted that blackouts had hit much of the island after the evening quakes.

“Aftershocks are still happening across Lombok,” he tweeted. “It’s pitch black…. We are still coordinating with officials on the ground.”

Earlier in the day he said that the morning quake caused panic but no widespread reports of damage. One person died from a suspected heart attack and there were reports of localised damage.

Four significant quakes were recorded by seismologists on Sunday, the first measuring 6.3 shortly before midday which triggered landslides and sent people fleeing for cover.

It was followed nearly twelve hours later by a late evening quake measuring 6.9 and two aftershocks of 5.9 and 5.3 strength, according to the US Geological Survey.

The picturesque island is already reeling from two devastating quakes on July 29 and August 5 that killed nearly 500 people and made hundreds of thousands homeless.

Landslides were reported in a national park on Mount Rinjani where hundreds of hikers had been briefly trapped after the quake in late July. The park has been closed since then.

Local disaster mitigation agency spokesman Agung Pramuja said several houses and other structures in the district of Sembalun, on the slopes of Mount Rinjani, collapsed on Sunday after being damaged by the previous two quakes.

The structures included checkpoints once used by trekkers climbing the mountain, Pramuja said, adding that the exact number of damaged buildings was still being checked.

Sunday’s tremors were also felt on the neighbouring resort island of Bali but there were no reports of damage.

The economic toll of the quake is estimated to be at least five trillion rupiah ($348 million).


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