Third strong earthquake shakes Indonesia as death toll tops 300
TANJUNG, Indonesia (AP) — The Indonesian island of Lombok was shaken by a third big earthquake in little more than a week Thursday as the official death toll from the most powerful of the quakes topped 300.
The strong aftershock, measured at magnitude 5.9 by the U.S. Geological Survey, caused panic, damage to buildings, landslides and injuries.
It was centred in the northwest of the island and didn’t have the potential to cause a tsunami, Indonesia’s geological agency said.
Videos showed rubble strewn across streets and clouds of dust enveloping buildings.
In northern Lombok, some people leaped from their vehicles on a traffic-jammed road while an elderly woman standing in the back of a pickup truck wailed “God is Great.” An Associated Press reporter in the provincial capital, Mataram, saw people injured by the quake and a hospital moving patients outside.
The aftershock caused more “trauma,” said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
Wiranto, Indonesia’s top security minister, told reporters the death toll from Sunday’s magnitude 7.0 quake had risen to 319.
The announcement came after an inter-agency meeting was called to resolve wildly different figures from various government offices.
“We are taking action as fast as we can to handle this disaster,” he said.
Nguroho said in a statement that the death toll will continue to rise because rescue workers are still finding victims in the ruins of collapsed buildings and some people who are already buried are not yet included in the official toll.
Grieving relatives were burying their dead and medics tended to people whose broken limbs hadn’t yet been treated in the days since the quake.
The Red Cross said it was focusing relief efforts on an estimated 20,000 people yet to get any assistance.