Hundreds of people have been left devastated as a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook Lombok, Indonesia, destroying many buildings and trapping tourists and citizens. The earthquake started at 6:46 p.m. local time on Sunday and its movements could be felt up to 150km away as recorded in Denpasar, Bali.
Reports show that the death toll is now sitting at 91 with hundreds of others injured from falling debris and collapsing buildings, rescue teams are working hard to investigate the area as quickly as possible to free those that are trapped and treat the injured. The Guardian reported that all those that died in the earthquake are Indonesian. The epicentre of the earthquake is located 18km northwest of the Eastern part of Lombok, the same place that suffered the damages of an earthquake that killed 16 people just a week ago.
Many buildings in the area have been severely damaged and Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency warned citizens that they may be in danger of being struck by a tsunami. The warning was retracted at 8:30 pm local time. The spokesperson for Indonesia's disaster agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, says that the agency is focusing on search and rescue missions as well as providing health care and basic needs to those suffering the effects such as medical personnel, clean water, food, blankets, mats, tents, fast food, trauma healing services.
Two children's homes in the area were completely destroyed by the earthquake forcing over 80 children to sleep outside. Martina Fetter, founder of the Peduli Anak Foundation, said that of the charity's four homes, two were now completely collapsed. "The other two that we just finished building this year also have damages, cracked walls, roof partly falling, so it's still not safe to stay inside," she said. "We still need tents, setting up emergency kitchen, food, water, generator to pump water," she added.
The Indonesian air force dispatched three planes to provide the area with troops, medical personnel, drugs and food. Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, took to Twitter to urge the community to remain calm, saying: "the brothers are not alone facing this ordeal".
Peter Dutton, Australia's Home Affairs Minister who is currently in Lombok attending a counter-terrorism meeting recounts the earthquake saying it "was powerful enough to put us on the floor. We were up on the 12th floor, the lights went out and we were able to evacuate," Dutton said. "I think we were pretty lucky in the end."
Tourists have attempted to flee Lombok forcing the airport authorities to request additional flights to accommodate the influx. Authorities showed videos and pictures of hundreds of people, many believed to be foreign vacationers, crammed onto a beach on the island of Gili Trawangan as evacuation measures got underway. While over 350 tourists have already evacuated the area, another 600 still await transportation.
More than 100 aftershocks are continuing to affect the region and its surrounding areas. Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, who are currently holidaying in Bali with their children, announced on Twitter that they were safe and sending well wishes to all those affected.
Lombok is often an unfortunate victim to the mercy of frequent earthquakes as it makes up part of the Lesser Sunda Island chain. It is a popular tourist destination known for mountains, beaches and surf but is also located in the ring of fire, known for earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
See the video below where an Indonesian imam continues praying as the earthquake strikes.