United Nations chief ‘saddened' over devastation caused by quake in Indonesia

Cheryl Sanders
August 8, 2018

"Many of our local staff have been left homeless and with limited access to food and water", Fiona said.

She said: "My house was flattened".

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said some villages in the worst-hit areas of the north have not received any help as well as some in the west of the island.

Lombok had already been hit by a 6.4 magnitude quake on July 29 that killed 17 people and briefly stranded several hundred trekkers on the slopes of a volcano.

Indonesian search and rescue personnel work on a collapsed mosque in Pemenang, North Lombok on August 6, 2018, the day after a magnitude 6.9 quake struck the area.

That's because the region sits smack-dab along the so-called ring of fire-an imaginary, horseshoe-shape line that follows the rim of the Pacific Ocean and marks spots where several tectonic plates collide. Thousands of people have been sleeping in makeshift shelters or out in the open.

Rescuers have struggled to reach hard-hit areas where survivors are in urgent need of food and shelter.

Some roads are blocked or hard to navigate making it challenging to reach all of the communities in need of assistance.

Nugroho told a news briefing on Monday some areas there were cut off after bridges collapsed.

"We watched people trying to climb on to a boat and then watched as they were literally kicked off these already overloaded boats".

As many as 600,000 people have been affected by the quake, with up to 20,000 people living in temporary shelters.

For many, food and water remains in short supply and people are afraid to return to their homes - that is if they are still standing.

It said clean drinking water was scarce because of a recent spell of extremely dry weather in Lombok.

Indonesian villagers say they are facing an uncertain future as recovery process of the destruction caused by the quake is progressing slowly. They used their hands, crowbars and whatever they could to free her. Machinery was eventually brought in and she was pulled to safety after four hours. Some 236 people were injured and more than 20,000 displaced, he said.

Early in the morning they heard a weak voice coming from under the pile of bricks and mangled steel bars of a two-storey mosque in Pemenang, where four people were believed to have been trapped.

Ghozali's assessment of the likely impact on tourism to Lombok was backed by Australian-based Indonesia expert Matthew Busch, a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute, who said the effect of the most recent natural disaster, and another one a week ago, could be severe for the local tourism sector.

More than 1,000 tourists were being evacuated from Indonesia's tiny Gili islands.

Officials said that almost 8,400 tourists and resort workers had been evacuated from the three Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, where two people died, emptying out a destination popular for its white beaches and turquoise waters.

Thousands of tourists have left Lombok since Sunday, fearing further earthquakes, some on extra flights provided by airlines and others on ferries to Bali.

Other reports by iNewsToday