World

Lombok deaths reported to surge to 381, but official number still 164

Lombok deaths reported to surge to 381, but official number still 164

An Indonesian man examines the remains of houses, after a 6.4 magnitude quake struck, in Lombok on 29 July, 2018.

It's the third tremor to hit Lombok in the space of two weeks.

So far, 355 aftershocks have been felt following Sunday's magnitude 6.9 quake, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said.

Even as a second quake has hit Indonesia's Lombok island today, users posting on Facebook after the first fatal natural disaster were shocked to see animated balloons and confetti popping up when sharing their posts.

The death toll from Monday's 6.9 magnitude natural disaster on the Indonesian island of Lombok has risen dramatically overnight to 347, with state-run news agency Antara issuing the new figure. It struck northwest of Lombok, which is close to Bali, but the agency said it would not cause a tsunami.

The strong aftershock, measured at magnitude 5.9 by the U.S. Geological Survey, caused panic, damage to buildings, landslides and injuries.

More than 20,000 people are believed to have been made homeless by the latest quake, with 105 killed and 236 severely injured, officials said Tuesday.

"We received information from our area team in West Nusa Tenggara that telecommunication access was down, while many people were still looking for their family members".

The magnitude 7.0 quake on Sunday killed at least 319 people and damaged or destroyed almost 68,000 homes. As of August 8, a total 347 people were killed and 1,500 were injured.

However, he said today the "death toll has jumped significantly", without providing further details. Before that, another strong quake on July 29 had already shaken Lombok, killing 16 people.

Gusti Lanang Wisnuwandana, an official with the Mataram Search and Relief Office, told Antara that medical and rescue workers were struggling to deal with survivors terrified of being indoors after the quake.

"We are very sad because our mosque we loved very much is now destroyed", said Sunarto, a worshipper, holding back tears.

Many frightened villagers are staying under tents or tarpaulins dotted along roads or in parched rice fields.

"People are always saying they need water and tarps", said Indonesian Red Cross spokesman Arifin Hadi.

At a shelter in hard-hit Kayangan, new mother Rusnah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said she needed basic supplies for her children.


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