Indonesia natural disaster: Chaos as tens of thousands flee, with nearly 100 dead

Erika Holt
August 9, 2018

CBS2's Ben Tracy reports.

Lombok has suffered two earthquakes now in as many weeks.

In a separate part of North Lombok on Tuesday, rescuers in Lading-Lading village pulled out a few bodies and one survivor from the collapsed Jabbal Nur mosque.

With not enough boats to evacuate tourists quickly and too few planes to fly them out of Lombok, many visitors were forced to wait for hours or camp on beaches and on the floor of the worldwide airport in Mataram.

"In some villages we visited the destruction was nearly 100%, all houses collapsed, roads are cracked and bridges were broken", said Arifin Muhammad Hadi, a spokesman for the Indonesian Red Cross. The death toll is expected to rise.

Aid began reaching isolated areas of the Indonesian island struggling after a powerful natural disaster, while rescuers doubled down on efforts to find the dead, pulling another body from the rubble.

Irish expat Patricia Mulraney, 25, and her friend, Leona Reynolds, were on a speed boat enroute the Gili Trawangan Island, when the 6.9-magnitude hit Bali, Lombok and neighbouring islands, causing giant waves to almost capsize their boat.

The death toll from a shallow 6.9-magnitude quake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has risen above 130, officials said Wednesday, with some 156,000 forced from their homes. One Indonesian official told the BBC that 80 percent of the island had been impacted.

Earlier on Tuesday, in a rare piece of good news, a woman was pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed grocery store near the epicentre of the quake. The number of victims was unknown. Rumours around the island quickly circulated that another powerful quake was going to hit the same evening.

"I imagine things will be pretty desperate and I don't expect things to improve before next year", said Singleton. All but two of were killed on Lombok; the others died on Bali. That earlier natural disaster killed 17 and injured more than 160.

"We've had light earthquakes in the past, but never anything like this", said Marcel De Rijk, owner of Lombok boutique hotel chain Puri Mas Resort, whose beachside hotel and villas will stay closed until September for repairs. "The customers managed to escape, but he himself didn't", Sahril said.

Fiona added their staff are their main priority, with more than 100 employees in need of help.

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There was no official figure for how many tourists were on the islands, with numbers jumping from an original estimate of about 1,000. "It was just getting on a boat in the first place which was hard". On Lombok, soldiers and other rescuers carried injured people on stretchers and carpets to evacuation centres.

Supartana said two people had been found alive, along with three bodies.

Quakes continued to rattle the island, including a 5.5 magnitude tremor at around 2 a.m. (1800 GMT Monday), Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency said (BMKG). The warning was lifted after only small waves were recorded. "And if people could please donate, a lot of money will be needed to rebuild all this and make the children here feel safe again cause they have nowhere else to go". "The locals were screaming and shouting and we had no idea as to what was going on".

"They have not been touched by any assistance", Mr Nguroho said.

'He just said "wait, wait" - I was so anxious we would be stranded but I kept pulling his leg and he said "I promise I will help you".

"It was quite frantic cos some of the locals were literally jumping on to the boats", British tourist James Kelsall said. Tens of thousands of homes have collapsed.

Australian consular staff are also working alongside Indonesian authorities to ensure holiday-makers trapped on the Gili Islands are safely evacuated.

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

Indonesia is defined by string of volatile volcanoes stretching for thousands of miles, as it is situated on the so-called Ring of Fire around the Pacific.

On July 29th there was a 6-point-4 magnitude quake that left at least 17 people dead.

There are 2,221 Canadians registrants overseas in Indonesia and 480 registered in Bali, said Elizabeth Reid, spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada. We are all frustrated to live like this - in a tent without certainty. "It was the violence of the shaking of the building - was pretty dramatic", he said in a radio interview. "But people out in the villages or elsewhere haven't been so lucky, unfortunately". "Our family and maybe 10 others", she said.

Late Tuesday a 23-year-old woman was finally rescued after locals heard her cries for help.

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