Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

At the epicentre of the Lombok natural disaster, villagers cry out for help

At the epicentre of the Lombok natural disaster, villagers cry out for help

The death toll from a powerful natural disaster on the Indonesian island of Lombok rose to 105 on Tuesday as rescuers clawed through the rubble of homes, schools and mosques for survivors and evacuees faced another night in the open.

Volunteers and rescue personnel erected more temporary shelters for the tens of thousands left homeless on Lombok by the magnitude 7.0 quake on Sunday evening. Water, food and medical supplies were being distributed from lorries.

Separately, a woman was pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed grocery store in the north, near the epicentre of the quake, the second tremor to rock the tropical island in a week.

Authorities are still tallying up quake losses, but the value of assets destroyed and other damage could easily top 1 trillion rupiah (£53.8 million), said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

"Thousands of people moved to scattered locations", Sutopo told a news conference in Jakarta.

The death toll since the 6.9 magnitude quake on Sunday has reached 98, including two on the neighboring island of Bali, and officials expect it to rise.

More than 20,000 people have reportedly been displaced from their homes.

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"There has been no help at all here", said 36-year-old Multazam, staying with hundreds of others under tarpaulins on a dry paddy field outside West Pemenang village.

"We were sitting there having dinner at about 7 o'clock last night, we just felt a really big sort of shaking and the lights went off and everyone just ran", Australian tourist Kim Liebelt said as he waited with other travelers for a flight out at Lombok's global airport.

"We have no clean water, so if we want to go to the toilet we use a small river nearby", he said, adding they needed food, bedding and medicine. Amid collapsed homes, most hotels seemed to have shut and beaches were deserted.

The newspaper quoted a source as saying: "They certainly felt the natural disaster".

Sarah and Adam, who are in their early 20s, had been staying on the Gili Islands before moving to Canggu in Bali - and it was there that they felt the earth tremble.

"We estimate there are still more victims because we found many sandals in front of the mosque", Nugroho said Tuesday.

Hundreds of tourists and workers were still struggling to get off three outlying resort islands where power was cut off and hotels and hostels were damaged.

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Todd, from Northbridge, told Fairfax Media at Lombok airport that he and his wife had spent a night sleeping in a carpark after the natural disaster hit.

"Hopefully, now, with the arrival of heavy equipment, we can get her remains back", said Husni, another family member.

A damaged mosque in North Lombok.

Like its famous neighbor Bali, Lombok is known for beaches, mountains and a lush interior.

Lombok's airport was now open around the clock and had significantly increased its flight schedule.

"Our little paradise island that we have called home has taken a hit and the foundation of our island and its businesses, which are the local people, have taken the biggest hit of all".

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