Gov't Declares State of Emergency After Powerful Lombok Quake

The government has declared a three-day state of emergency after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake killed at least 14 people, including a Malaysian tourist, on Lombok Island in West Nusa Tenggara on Sunday morning (29/07). (Antara Photo/Ahmad Subaidi)

By : Sarah Yuniarni | on 3:25 PM July 29, 2018
Category : News, Featured, Disasters

Jakarta. The government has declared a three-day state of emergency after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake killed at least 14 people, including a Malaysian tourist, on Lombok Island in West Nusa Tenggara on Sunday morning (29/07).

"We are focused on rescuing people first. The police, Basarnas [National Search and Rescue Agency] and all related authorities are deployed in the field," West Nusa Tenggara Governor Tuan Guru Bajang Zainul Majdi said, as reported by state-run news agency Antara.

He said Sembalun and Sambelia districts in North Lombok and Bayan district in South Lombok were the worst affected areas.

Reuters reported that 162 people were injured and thousands of homes damaged in the quake, which was also felt in nearby Sumbawa and Bali. The epicenter was 50 kilometers northeast of Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 6.47 a.m. at a relatively shallow depth of 7 kilometers, which amplified its effect.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 is considered strong and capable of causing severe damage.

At least 104 aftershocks rattled the region, including one with a magnitude of 5.7, during the morning. There is no tsunami threat because the quake occurred on land.

"We urge people to be alert but remain calm and refrain from panicking," Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the National Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), said in Jakarta on Sunday.

She urged residents to find credible sources of information or follow the BMKG's official Twitter account @infoBMKG to prevent the spread of fake news.

Local authorities have deployed rapid response teams and started distributing instant noodles and bottled water in the affected areas. However, rescue teams were in urgent need of stretchers, medical personnel and medical equipment, local disaster mitigation agency head Mohammad Rum said in a statement.

Landslides

The electricity supply was cut in Sembalun, a sparsely populated area on the northern side of the island.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said a 30-year-old Malaysian woman visiting Mount Rinjani, a popular hiking destination, is among those who died.

He said the area was temporarily closed to climbers because there were reports of landslides.

"People are gathering on the streets and in empty fields to avoid collapsing buildings," he said. "The main focus now is on evacuation and rescue. Some of the injured are still being treated at clinics."

An emergency post was set up on a street in Sembalun to treat the injured because the local hospital was damaged in the quake. Patients in critical condition were taken to other hospitals.

"It happened so suddenly, at around 6 in the morning. Suddenly everything simply collapsed," said Siti Sumarni, a Sembalun resident. "My child was inside the house; thankfully he survived."

Standing outside a green tent set up on a dusty field, she said nothing was left of her house.

Video footage showed ambulances lining the streets of Lombok and many houses damaged with only parts of brick walls standing.

Additional reporting from Reuters

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